Be nice to your physician — your life may depend on it

Patient rudeness can have damaging effects on medical performance and limit collaboration and communication among care teams, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers assessed the performance of 39 neonatal intensive care unit teams treating infant medical mannequins for various emergency situations such as severe respiratory distress or hypovolemic shock, according to UF News. An actress, posing as the baby's mother, exhibited rude behavior to some of the NICU teams. The control groups experienced no rude behavior.

Researchers found teams exposed to rudeness consistently performed worse than the control groups and were deficient in all 11 of the study's measures, including diagnostic accuracy and communication. The teams exhibited these deficiencies for all five emergency situations, showing the negative effects of rudeness lasted the entire day, according to the report.

"[Rudeness] is actually affecting the cognitive system, which directly affects your ability to perform," Amir Erez, PhD, one of the study's researchers, told UF News. "People may think that doctors should just 'get over' the insult and continue doing their job. However, the study shows that even if doctors have the best intentions in mind, as they usually do, they cannot get over rudeness because it interferes with their cognitive functioning without an ability to control it."

Teaching medical professionals how to deal with rudeness should be a priority for the medical community, the researchers concluded.


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