Rudeness at Work = Mistakes at Work

ABERDEEN, Scotland, July 7 (UPI) — Having the boss or co-worker be rude, or even witnessing the rudeness of other workers, results in more workplace mistakes, Scottish researchers say.

In an editorial in the British Medical Journal, Rhona Flin of Aberdeen University in Scotland wrote that the link between rudeness and mistakes is of particular concern in the healthcare industry, especially in patient safety and quality of care.


Flin said that in confined areas, such as an operating room, watching rudeness between colleagues might impair the surgical team’s cognitive skills.

“In surgical environments, all staff require high levels of attention and memory for task execution,” Flin wrote.

If incivility does occur in operating rooms and affects workers’ ability to perform tasks, the risks for surgical patients — whose treatment depends on particularly high levels of mental concentration and flawless task execution — could increase.”

Rudeness in healthcare is not rare. In a survey of 391 National Health Service operating staff, 66 percent of respondents said they had “received aggressive behavior” from nurses and 53 percent said they received aggressive behavior from surgeons within the last six months.

In interviews, scrub nurses revealed they sometimes had to tolerate surgeons’ bad temper and tantrums, Flin added.

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