Rudeness reduces team performance; Be Nice

No-one likes working with rude or disrespectful people, and now there is a study to show this has flow on effects on patient care.


In this experiment, NICU teams in simulated scenarios were randomised to either control or "incivility" conditions. In the control group they were exposed to neutral commentary, but in the incivility/rudeness group, the teams received preconditioning by an "expert" in the field that the reputation of medical care in their area was poor, and part way in to the simulation received further feedback that recently observed teams were not up to the standard of the expert.

In the setting of a neonatal resuscitation, teams were assessed by observers blinded to the study design and randomisation on their diagnostic and procedural abilities, in addition to information sharing and help-seeking behaviours.

In this study, the teams exposed to rudeness had poorer diagnostic and procedural performance, and were less likely to share information or seek help from their team members. Information sharing and help-seeking behaviours were associated with greater diagnostic and procedural performance, respectively. Rudeness negatively impacted information sharing, leading to poorer diagnostic performance, and also negatively impacted help-seeking, leading to poorer procedural performance.




Although the rude behaviors regularly experienced by medical practitioners can seem benign, our findings indicate that they may result in iatrogenesis, with potentially devastating outcomes. Not only does rudeness harm the diagnostic and procedural performance of practitioners, it also seems to adversely affect the very collaborative processes that might otherwise allow for teams to compensate for these effects.


Be Nice

It's better for you, others, the team and the patient.



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