An interesting new study finds that doctors and nurses may be very sensitive to criticism or scolding by patients, which could affect their concentration and place patients at risk.
The study which was conducted in Israel, focused on pediatric patients. In the study, doctors and nurses from several neonatal intensive care units were put through mock clinical scenarios. They used mannequins in place of sick infants, and professional actors were roped in to play the role of parents of the pediatric patients. When these parents scolded the teams, or criticized them for not doing their jobs properly, the researchers found a significant drop in the performance of the team.
Comments like, “I knew we should have gone to another hospital”, were found to impact the team’s performance. Overall, when doctors and nurses who were subjected to critical comments from the active parents were compared to other medical personnel who were not exposed to such comments, the researchers found an overall drop in performance on measures. This included those measures related to accuracy of diagnosis, information sharing, and the amount of time taken to diagnose the patient.