The article's authors concluded that during surgery, surgeons must treat their staff in a civil manner. Outside the operating room, they added, surgeons must enable others to lead. Doing so, they said, will allow surgeons to gain respect and create a culture of loyalty.
Stress and anonymity however, are often working against such cultures of loyalty, the researchers noted. For example, if surgeons knew their co-workers better it would help establish a positive culture that would result in improved care, surgical outcomes and job satisfaction.
To address the problem, polite or civil behavior must be nurtured during surgeons' training along with other essential qualities, such as ego strength, confidence, focus, work ethic and dedication.
Hospitals often hire surgeons based solely on surgical volume or grant funding, rather than other key qualities such as interpersonal skills, the article authors added.
"We should place increased emphasis on nontechnical skills such as leadership, communication and situational awareness and teamwork," said Klein. "The temptation to ignore warning signs that a surgeon will not play well in the sandbox with peers and co-workers is seductive when large clinical practices and NIH funding are at stake."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides more information on the work environment of surgeons.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, news release, July 18, 2011.
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