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Physician Executives and Nurses Team Up to Fight Disruptive Behavior

ACPE and AONE announce new partnership

TAMPA, Fla., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Screaming matches in the OR. Surgical instruments hurled across the room. Ominous threats, biting insults and dripping sarcasm.

When doctors and nurses can't get along, no one wins. In addition to creating an unpleasant working environment, patient safety can be severely compromised. Now two of the nation's leading health care associations are joining forces to stamp out disruptive behavior. Together, the American College of Physician Executives and the American Organization of Nurse Executives hope to provide the necessary resources and guidance to foster excellence in nurse/physician relationships throughout the country.

The problem is very real. More than 95 percent of the respondents to an ACPE survey said they had witnessed disturbing, disruptive and potentially dangerous behaviors among physicians on a regular basis. And the majority - more than 56 percent - said the conflicts they saw typically involved a nurse or a physician's assistant.

The issue is so widespread that the Joint Commission issued a statement requiring that health care facilities adopt zero tolerance policies for disruptive physician behavior by January 1, 2009.

AONE and ACPE have put together resources to help health care organizations be ready to implement these changes. Both organizations believe in specific core principles, including a dedication to building collaborative relationships; creating specific systems for reward, recognition and celebration; and making patient-focused care and better patient outcomes the top priority.

"Disruptive behavior is a serious problem and it deserves a serious response," said Barry Silbaugh, MD, FACPE, the CEO of ACPE. "Our hope is that this partnership will be an important first step in improving the relationship between doctors and nurses everywhere."

Resources offered by AONE and ACPE include several Web-based classes and a variety of on-line articles on taming disruptive behavior.

Pamela Thompson, RN, MA, FAAN, AONE chief executive officer, says, "We know that patient care is impacted by disruptive professional behavior. Our goal is to focus on the critical work of nurses and physicians practicing collaboratively to deliver safe care to our patients and families."

For a detailed description of the code of conduct and a complete listing of all the resources available to fight disruptive behavior, visit or contact Carrie Weimar, ACPE's director of public relations, at or 800-562-8088.

    Carrie Weimar, ACPE Director of Public Relations

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SOURCE American College of Physician Executives
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