Empowering trainees to promote professionalism.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Unprofessional behaviour can interfere with patient care. Empowering trainees to address each other's unprofessional behaviour can help address a larger number of incidents that may not be witnessed by supervisors, as well as promote a culture of professionalism in a teaching programme. The goal of the study was to teach trainees to effectively address observed unprofessional behaviour and to assess the impact of this exercise on the percentage of cases directly addressed, reported or ignored 6-12 months after the initial training.

METHODS

Eighty-four trainees participated in objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) cases designed to address a colleague's inappropriate behaviour. Baseline and follow-up surveys performed 6-12 months after the OSCE were completed detailing the number of incidents witnessed in colleagues and the method employed to address those incidents: personally address (with level of satisfaction), report or ignore.

RESULTS

There was a significant increase in the number of unprofessional incidents identified after the OSCE (pre-OSCE, 1.12 per resident; post-OSCE, 1.69 per resident; t = 2.27, p = 0.029). Of the 72 incidents at baseline, 43 per cent were addressed directly and 43 per cent of those had a satisfactory resolution. Of the 71 incidents described 6-12 months later, 61 per cent were addressed directly and 79 per cent of those had a satisfactory resolution. Trainees were more likely to address rather than to report unprofessional behaviour χ2 (2, 58) = 13, p = 0.001. Empowering trainees to address each other's unprofessional behaviour can help promote a culture of professionalism DISCUSSION: The intervention had a significant impact on the percentage of trainees that addressed any observed unprofessional behaviour, and the rate of satisfaction after doing so. It did not change the percentage of cases that were neither addressed nor reported.

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