This is one of the recommendations from the ‘departmental’ section of the RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit.
Run undermining and harassment workshops
Some example courses are described below.
STOP IT course
The STOP IT course was devised by a multidisciplinary team at Wessex Deanery and University Hospital Southampton with the following aims:
- To raise awareness of behaviours which constitute bullying, harassment and intimidation
- To provide definitions for these behaviours
- To recognise our responses to these behaviours
- To recognise the effect these behaviours can have on education and training as well as patient care
- To explore ways of addressing and reducing these behaviours and thereby promoting constructive working relationships
The course is delivered by a faculty which includes medical, midwifery and nursing educationalists as well as input from HR. The course has been evaluated by Southampton Solent University, which identified three distinct groups of workshop participants, each of which purported to benefit in some way from the intervention.
Such benefits seemed to operate at individual, team or process level, depending on the individual participant. The course can be purchased to adapt and use locally within a Local Education and Training Board or individual trusts.
Bullying workshops for obstetric trainees (Cresswell et al.)
This workshop for trainees is run by a team from the North Middlesex University Hospital, London. The workshop is also relevant for the whole multiprofessional team.
The purpose is to raise awareness of bullying and undermining and the implications of such behaviour on the individual team member and the wider system. The workshops include:
- What is bullying (interactive)
- Case scenarios (based on real events)
- Discussions on how bullying affects patient safety
- How to support staff displaying bullying behaviour
- Being assertive but not aggressive
- Practical tips for survivors of bullying.
Give respect/get respect (RCM)
Organisational culture has a crucial part to play in engendering a working environment where bullying/harassment can occur. This workshop, run by the RCM, outlines the values of ‘a fair and just culture’ which:
- Is inclusive
- Respects and engages all staff in the agenda
- Doesn’t seek to blame individuals for system failures, but holds people to account around personal and professional responsibilities
A fair and just culture promotes the need to refocus the organisation to support, challenge, transform and learn together.
The workshop aims to demonstrate how to deal effectively with inappropriate behaviour which could lead to or constitutes bullying and harassment in the workplace by:
- Raising staff awareness that a procedure for inappropriate behaviour exists and how it works
- Encouraging management and employees to raise genuine concerns using the procedure
- Achieving a position whereby management and employees have confidence in the procedure and feel comfortable using it
- Improving the reporting and handling of such incidents
- Facilitating open discussion at the Area Partnership Forum on the effectiveness of the policy
- Providing, where appropriate, access to confidential counselling, advice and support for employees using the procedure
- Providing a programme for communicating the policy and monitoring its effectiveness, and training for those involved in applying the procedure