This is one of the recommendations from the ‘individual’ section of the RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit.
How to prevent bullying and undermining in your department
- Start by being nice and kind. We’re used to being caring and compassionate both towards and about our patients, but we need to extend this to our colleagues as well.
- Learn to see things from other people’s perspectives. Remember what it was like to be the most junior person on the team. Develop an understanding of the levels of stress and pressures experienced by the most senior members of the team.
- Don’t criticise others using hindsight bias (e.g. ‘I would never have done that‘) once an event has happened. Most people come to work to do a good job and are devastated in the event of a bad outcome. They usually did the best they could given their level of training, the prevailing circumstances and the information they had at their disposal at the time.
- Adopt a zero tolerance approach to bullying and undermining, particularly if you witness it while you are in a position of relative authority. By challenging undermining and bullying, you send a message to the whole multidisciplinary team that such behaviours are unacceptable. This in turn leads to a culture of patient safety – and the women we care for will have positive birth experiences, while also having safe delivery of their babies.