In the you've got to be kidding me files of academic medicine comes this study from the Journal of Hospital Medicine titled: Participation in Unprofessional Behaviors Among Hospitalists: A Multicenter Study.
What did this
unimportant interesting weird hilarious study discover regarding unprofessional hospitalist behavior? The whole 77 hospitalists who responded to the survey were asked to grade 30 unprofessional behaviors on a common five point scale used to measure attitudes. Hospitalists reported seeing unprofessional behavior more than participating (of course they did).
For these 77 hospitalists, what were the most highly admitted to unprofessional activities on the survey?
- 67% of hospitalists admitted to having non-medical or personal conversations in patient corridors.
- I'm shocked! I had no idea doctors were human? Once patients figure out doctors talk about more than just the size of their fungus ball, I reckon they're gonna lose all respect for us. Stupid researchers. They let the cat out of the bag. How unprofessional of us to spend our time on rounds showing pictures of our babies and dogs to others.
- 62% ordered a test as urgent in order to expedite care.
- How dare hospitalists work the system to combat a lazy hospital culture that permeates on weekends and holidays (and between the hours of 5pm-7am) all across America. Patient care does not stop when the scheduling nurse goes home. Hospitals that do not default to a culture of laziness would never have a problem with hospitalists trying their best to expedite care in the patient's best interest.
- 41% signed out a patient over the phone when it could have been done in person.
- I can't believe these hospitalists. How dare they run an efficient practice. Who do they think they are? My sign out usually consists of a text to the on call physician that states "Signed out. Nothing to follow up on." Unprofessional? I call it professional efficiency.
- 40% make fun of other physicians to colleagues.
- This will never change. This is a deeply engrained character flaw of physicians that begins on the first day of medical school and progresses in intensity through residency. There is no solution.
You can read the rest of the abstract at the link above. The study also talks about other nefarious unprofessional hospitalist behaviors like texting during conferences, celebrating blocked admissions and signing out early. How dare they! I'm not sure what to make of this study. I think they missed the boat. As I enter my 10th year of hospitalist medicine I can't stop but to think that hospitalists with these characteristics are, for the most part, the people I would want to work with. What would I consider unprofessional behavior among doctors and other health care professionals? Here are my top five considerations for unprofessional behavior in the hospital:
- If a surgeon told the scrub tech to pull my finger and farts in the OR
- If a hospitalist told a funny joke about midgets to the shortest nurse on the unit.
- If a nurse cheats at ICU Bingo.
- If a respiratory therapist says to a patient, "Do you need to PEEP or poop?"
- If a doctor named a patient's pannus Sandy Fields.
Signing out early as unprofessional? Not so much. This someecard below helps explain how nurses feel about doctors acting badly.