The negative impact of nurse-physician disruptive behavior on patient safety: a review of the literature

J Patient Saf. 2009 Sep;5(3):180-3. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e3181b4c5d7.


Objective: To review what is known about the impact of nurse-physician disruptive behavior on patient safety to inform appropriate intervention programs to address this health care problem.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature using the key words "disruptive physician behavior" and "physician verbal abuse" was conducted.

Results: Ten articles were reviewed. All were descriptive in nature and used a nonexperimental approach to measure the incidence of disruptive behavior and/or verbal abuse in various health care settings via self-report surveys. All studies confirmed the alarming prevalence of disruptive behavior.

Conclusions: A standard definition of "disruptive behavior" is needed, as is a valid and reliable measure of the phenomenon before interventions to address the problem can be developed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Medical Errors
  • Physician-Nurse Relations*
  • Professional Misconduct*
  • Safety Management*