Disruptive behaviour in the perioperative setting: a contemporary review

Abstract

PURPOSE Disruptive behaviour, which we define as behaviour that does not show others an adequate level of respect and causes victims or witnesses to feel threatened, is a concern in the operating room. This review summarizes the current literature on disruptive behaviour as it applies to the perioperative domain. SOURCE Searches of MEDLINE®, Scopus™, and Google books identified articles and monographs of interest, with backreferencing used as a supplemental strategy. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Much of the data comes from studies outside the operating room and has significant methodological limitations. Disruptive behaviour has intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational causes. While fewer than 10% of clinicians display disruptive behaviour, up to 98% of clinicians report witnessing disruptive behaviour in the last year, 70% report being treated with incivility, and 36% report being bullied. This type of conduct can have many negative ramifications for clinicians, students, and institutions. Although the evidence regarding patient outcomes is primarily based on clinician perceptions, anecdotes, and expert opinion, this evidence supports the contention of an increase in morbidity and mortality. The plausible mechanism for this increase is social undermining of teamwork, communication, clinical decision-making, and technical performance. The behavioural responses of those who are exposed to such conduct can positively or adversely moderate the consequences of disruptive behaviour. All operating room professions are involved, with the rank order (from high to low) being surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and "others". The optimal approaches to the prevention and management of disruptive behaviour are uncertain, but they include preventative and professional development courses, training in soft skills and teamwork, institutional efforts to optimize the workplace, clinician contracts outlining the clinician's (and institution's) responsibilities, institutional policies that are monitored and enforced, regular performance feedback, and clinician coaching/remediation as required. CONCLUSIONS Disruptive behaviour remains a part of operating room culture, with many associated deleterious effects. There is a widely accepted view that disruptive behaviour can lead to increased patient morbidity and mortality. This is mechanistically plausible, but more rigorous studies are required to confirm the effects and estimate their magnitude. An important measure that individual clinicians can take is to monitor and control their own behaviour, including their responses to disruptive behaviour.

DOI: 10.1007/s12630-016-0784-x

8 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Villafranca2017DisruptiveBI, title={Disruptive behaviour in the perioperative setting: a contemporary review}, author={Alexander Villafranca and Colin Hamlin and Stephanie Enns and Eric M B Jacobsohn}, booktitle={Canadian journal of anaesthesia = Journal canadien d'anesthesie}, year={2017} }