The post-it reads, ‘if you act like prey, you will be treated like prey’.
We have all seen or heard of the attacking surgeon, have we not?
The one who paces.
The one who complains when their case is late.
The one who complains when their case is early, why didn’t we tell them.
The one who complains about the team in their room.
The one who complains about the team from two weeks ago.
The one who complains that the scissors are dull.
The one who complains that the light source is not bright enough.
The one who complains about the room being too hot.
The one who complains about the room being too cold.
Okay. I was only kidding with that last one. The room can NEVER be cold enough for some surgeons.
Complaints aren’t attacks, although they can feel like them sometimes. And some surgeons live to complain. This makes their room unpleasant to be in. But they are not frightening.
But some of the OR staff may find them intimidating or frightening. And some staff may refuse to go in their room because of this.
This is the wrong approach.
If staff acts like prey-timid, questioning, afraid to speak up. This signals to the surgeon that the staff are not confident in their skills. Which makes them doubt the staff. Which makes them do all of the complaining above.
If a surgeon is acting like a jerk. Tell them. Tell them exactly what you find objectionable about their behavior.
In my experience, they will back off, if not apologize.
And if they don’t back off, report to management.
Do not act timid in front of them.
If any of the staff would like to borrow some backbone call me and we’ll talk through it.
At the end, everyone in the room just wants what is best for the patient. And if their behavior is causing the patient not to be safe because the staff in the room is too intimidated to speak up, tell them to knock it off. Or find someone who will.