Abusive behavior is barrier to high-reliability health care systems, culture of patient safety

QRC Advis. 2000 Nov;17(1):1-6.


Addressing abusive behavior in the medical workplace presents an important opportunity to deliver on the national commitment to improve patient safety. Fundamentally, the issue of patient safety and the issue of abusive behavior in the workplace are both about harm. Undiagnosed and untreated, abusive behavior is a barrier to creating high reliability service delivery systems that ensure patient safety. Health care managers and clinicians need to improve their awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the issue of workplace abuse. The available research suggests there is a high prevalence of workplace abuse in medicine. Both administrators at the blunt end and clinicians at the sharp end should consider learning new approaches to defining and treating the problem of workplace abuse. Eliminating abusive behavior has positive implications for preventing and controlling medical injury and improving organizational performance.

MeSH terms

  • Agonistic Behavior
  • Data Collection
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Safety Management*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Workplace / psychology*