Communication skills training to address disruptive physician behavior

AORN J. 2012 May;95(5):602-11. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2011.06.011.


Disruptive behavior among health care providers has been linked to negative patient outcomes. High-stress areas, including the perioperative setting, are especially prone to this behavior. The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate an educational communication skills intervention aimed at increasing the perceived self-efficacy of perioperative nurses to address disruptive physician behavior. Seventeen perioperative nurses participated in a two-day communication skills program presented by a certified Crucial Conversations trainer. By using paired t test analysis, I found that there was a statistically significant increase in total mean self-efficacy scores immediately after the intervention and four weeks after the intervention. In addition, four weeks after the intervention, participants reported the ability to address disruptive physician behavior 71% of the time. The results of this study suggest that one intervention strategy to address the serious threat of disruptive physician behavior to patient safety is to educate nurses in communication skills.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Behavior*
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Patient Safety / standards
  • Perioperative Care / psychology
  • Physicians*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires