This area of the website provides resources to help deal with bullying and undermining at an individual level, as part of the RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit. The author of this section is Susanna Crowe.
Surveys of O&G trainees suggest that the majority of bullying and undermining in maternity departments is carried out by consultants, owing to the hierarchical nature of the workplace. However, everyone who works in maternity services can be both the bullied and the bully, including trainee doctors, midwives, managers, maternity support workers and students.
Bullying has a wide range of negative impacts. At an individual level, it can cause depression, anxiety, lowered job satisfaction, high rates of absence through sickness and reduced working efficiency.
This section of the toolkit focuses on the individual and gives practical advice to those affected by poor workplace behaviour, whether as a victim or perpetrator. It also gives advice to those managing individuals whose behaviour is a cause for concern.
It’s vital to remember that that the only person’s behaviour you can change is your own. Thus, while interventions at strategic, trust and departmental level will have an impact, in the end it is the choice of individuals to behave differently that is key to success. Individuals should consider what action they need to take to change their behaviour and what support they may need to achieve this. Leaders and managers should consider the impact of their own behaviour in influencing the culture in their department.
We are keen to continue to develop the undermining toolkit. If you have any additional good practice examples and resources that you think would be useful, please email Sakinah Takeram at firstname.lastname@example.org.