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Are You a Bully?

Most of us choose to go into our professions because we care about our patients. The majority of us are not bullies at the start, and may not even consider ourselves bullies now. But the stresses at work can cause people to behave differently. And that behaviour becomes re-inforced until it becomes acceptable and part of the culture in the hospital. Clinic or health-care setting.

We often go home and mull over the patients that we’ve seen that day; the clinical problems, how we dealt with them, what we might have done differently. How often do we stop and think about how we behaved that day? Self-reflection is so important for both our clinical and non-clinical development.

Here is a checklist to help you think about how your behaviour might impact on others:

  • Do you listen to the other members of your team or do you do all the talking?
  • Do members of your team come to you with ideas or suggestions?
  • Does your sense of humour involve jokes that could be racist, homophobic or sexist?
  • Do you feel that ‘you had it tough so they should too?’
  • If you are senior, do you use your position to offer mentorship or to people go to others for this?
  • Do you always apologise to someone if you lose your temper?
  • Have you written derogatory comments about someone on whatsapp, facebook or twitter?
  • Do your colleagues look you in the eye?
  • Do you ignore any of your colleagues?
  • Do you blame others for problems that occur?
  • Do people speak freely in your theatre / clinic or do you dictate how people behave?
  • Does banter form a big part of your interactions with others?
  • Have you ever fired off an angry email?
  • Do you prefer to email colleagues about difficult situations, rather than discuss things face-face?

Bullying can happen anywhere and anyone of us can be guilty. Think about your behaviour on a daily basis. It is so easy for our behaviour to change without us noticing.

If you think you might be guilty of some of these traits, take our emodule or register for our workshop on how to survive and thrive as a surgeon.


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