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Use critical/assertive language

This is one of the recommendations from the ‘departmental’ section of the RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit.

Use critical/assertive language

Obedience literature suggests that submission to authority occurs within hierarchies and when individuals are under pressure.

Within mandatory training, team members should be encouraged to develop assertive language techniques. These should include agreed-upon phrases so that team members can challenge someone in authority, be assertive and speak up to reduce errors occurring. Use the ‘two-challenge rule’, whereby individuals are required to speak up at least twice when threats are identified, regardless of status. For more information, see University Hospital Southampton's document ‘Being Equipped with Assertive Language’ (PDF, 97 kb).

As well as using assertive language techniques, all team members should also learn to be assertive without being aggressive. The right atmosphere must be fostered to support individuals to achieve this.

References and further reading

Elsewhere on the site

Resources and support for trainees
Further resources to support specialty trainees in O&G
Resources and support for trainers
Resources to help trainers deliver the specialty training programme in O&G