Unprofessional conduct and inappropriate behavior constitute a real issue in the eyes of the American College of Surgeons, said Dr. Healy. A survey of 1500 physician executives found that inappropriate behavior, insults, verbal insults, throwing instruments, physical contact, and more were not uncommon.
Explore This IssueAugust 2009
Every hospital should have a code of conduct. If your hospital doesn’t have one, you should go before the executive committee and urge them to set up a code of conduct to which every physician and nurse should have to adhere, Dr. Healy said. There may be many reasons leading to physicians misbehaving-such as anger management problems, family issues, or addiction-but they need to either accept help and adhere to the rules of conduct, or leave.
The final scenario was of a medical group that hired a female surgeon who, within the three years after her hire, became pregnant three times and took substantial time off. Colleagues in the group complained about having to carry her workload while she was away.
Institutionally, most places now have a policy that will help you manage this, Dr. Maisel said. But small practice groups have a harder time with this, and many don’t have policies in place. Policies need to address how much time people can take off, at what point one goes without pay, and more.
You need to make sure that’s in there ahead of time before you hire people, he said.
It’s not just maternity or paternity leave that policies need to address, but also illnesses where a person needs several weeks or a few months off. Overall, for a variety of issues, having established policies makes life a lot easier.
©2009 The Triological Society