This is one of the recommendations from the ‘strategic’ section of the RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit.
Education and training to prevent and manage bullying
Education and training are powerful tools to challenge inappropriate behaviour and provide positive role models. All those responsible for undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and continuing professional development need to use effective education and training to help prevent and manage bullying and undermining.
Examples are outlined in the other sections of this toolkit, but all interventions need to focus on several key mechanisms:
- Developing insight into one’s own behaviour and its impact on others
- Creating a shared understanding of acceptable/unacceptable behaviours
- Developing interpersonal, communication and conflict management skills
- Identifying local problems and causes of conflict, and generating solutions
Inter-professional education and learning breaks down barriers between professional groups. In Bristol, a pilot of inter-professional training led to meaningful improvements in attitudes to teamwork among both medical and midwifery students.
Such interventions can also improve the workplace culture and environment. In many units, this collaboration is continued into aspects of inter-professional postgraduate training such as the PROMPT course or the MOSES course in South Yorkshire and the Humber (see the section on routine data collection and monitoring for an account from Yorkshire and the Humber).
However, specific sessions with multi-disciplinary discussion of workplace behaviour, involving obstetricians and gynaecologists, nurses, midwives, managers, anaesthetists, neonatal staff, admin staff and students, are still relatively rare and often focus on remedial action. The emphasis needs to shift to prevention rather than cure.
All staff, particularly those in training positions, could be taught how to challenge poor workplace behaviour and encouraged to do so, e.g. ‘The way you said that made me feel anxious/uncomfortable/unsupported. Could we discuss this later, perhaps with my educational supervisor or another supportive person?’
The RCOG is developing an eLearning package to address these issues which will be available in early 2015.