Disruptive Behavior: A Slap on the Hand

Jill Duncan, RN, MS, MPH, Director, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Former Staff Nurse and Clinical Nurse Specialist
Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Give an example of a disruptive behavior within a health care setting.
  • Describe how disruptive behavior can harm teamwork and communication within a health care setting.
  • Summarize at least one technique to improve a damaged relationship between health care professionals.

Description: When you’re rude and disrespectful to your co-workers, you put your patients at risk. In this video, former nurse Jill Duncan recalls watching a senior nurse bully a medical resident. She explains why this behavior happens, and how you should respond if you’re on the receiving end. 


Discussion Questions
  1. Why do you think the nurse slapped the resident’s hand away? Is it ever appropriate to do that to a colleague?
  2. What if you were a resident and a senior staff member slapped your hand away during a medical procedure? How would you react?
  3. Do you think the nurse acted the way she did because the resident was younger? How have you seen age differences affect relationships, teamwork, and communication in your workplace?
  4. Discuss some potential consequences that may result when nurses and residents aren’t communicating well in a hospital.
  5. Do you think Nurse Duncan’s advice for trainees who are trying to get along with and learn from more experienced physicians was good advice? Do you have other strategies that have worked for you or that you think might be effective?
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