8 things to know about physician misbehavior on and off the job

The rate of physicians personally witnessing or experiencing misbehavior from another physician fell from 62 percent to 55 percent, Medscape reported Aug. 30.

The Medscape "Helping or Hurting Doctors' Reputation: Physician Behavior Report" surveyed 1,671 physicians from 29 specialties between Jan. 17 and March 21.  

Here are eight findings:

  1. Only 14 percent of physicians acknowledge they had misbehaved either mistakenly or deliberately.

  2. Physicians reported the top three types of misbehavior at work as bullying or harassing clinicians or staff (32 percent), making fun of or disparaging patients without their knowledge (29 percent), and using racist language (8 percent).

  3. Away from work, physicians reported the top types of misbehavior as making fun of or disparaging patients without their knowledge (62 percent), being inebriated in public (51 percent), and bullying or harassing others (42 percent).

  4. After witnessing an event, 30 percent of physicians took no action, while 39 percent said they spoke directly to that physician and 35 percent reported it to the head of the workplace.

  5. Eighty-eight percent of the physicians who reportedly misbehaved were in their 40s and 50s.

  6. Eighty percent of those who reportedly misbehaved were men.

  7. Of physicians who witnessed or experienced physicians behaving inappropriately in public, only 33 percent said the physician was disciplined by their employer or a medical association.

  8. Of settings, physicians misbehaved most at the workplace (56 percent), followed by remotely (26 percent) and in a nonmedical setting (17 percent).

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