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Case Study

Client: National Health Service Trusts – Camden and Islington PCTs


Brief

How can we be sure we are not (inadvertently) bullying our junior colleagues — and how can we best handle accusations of bullying?


Solution

The cultural climate in healthcare has changed, and junior staff and colleagues are now much more aware of issues of bullying, and far readier to speak out if they feel undermined by seniors. This leaves NHS consultants concerned to engage with the issues surrounding bullying and perceived bullying, and more likely to be on the end of accusations of it. They are keen to raise their own awareness of the effect they have on others, and also to protect themselves against accusations they would deem unfair or biased.

In this sensitive atmosphere, the course we developed (with reference to Trust policy and procedure) focused on the impact of communication and behaviour. ‘Beyond Bullying: its causes, prevention and cure’ is a course for anyone at work, especially those in positions of authority. It was first piloted by The Whittington NHS Trust for their Consultants, who immediately asked for a follow-on course. Given the typical schedule of an NHS Consultant, we have now whittled down the course from a day to a half-day, and deliver it in various NHS Trusts — especially in departments which have scored badly in national surveys. The course looks at the underlying causes for deep conflict within communication, and the types of blind-spot which can lead our behaviours to be perceived as more threatening or demanding than we might realise. Given the official and procedural definitions of bullying as a behaviour deemed as undermining by the recipient, we work hard to challenge existing preconceptions and attitudes that may be construed as offensive or undermining by others — and offer Consultants ways to increase their own self-awareness of this type of situation. For more information, see our page: Workplace Bullying.


Consultants

Annie Rankin – Elizabeth English

 

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