“Disruptive Physician” is one of the most misused terms in healthcare these days.
Most of the time it is used to silence legitimate concerns from hard working, caring physicians. Even worse is the feminine version of this toxic label - the "B Word".
Once you get either label, it can be very difficult to recover your reputation or work your way back into a position of influence. Being tossed under the bus like this is the most common cause of physicians quitting their current job.
This whole tragic miscommunication is avoidable 90% of the time, if you learn the rules to communicating with administrators when you are upset.
In this article let me show you an extremely important skill for any employed physician -- or any physician leader below the level of CEO ...
How to communicate your legitimate concerns up the chain of command and NOT GET LABELED "DISRUPTIVE"
Here in the wake of the COVID Pandemic of 2020-21, this label is most often used to quash any physician complaints about the rampant understaffing of the front line patient care teams. Staff was cut to save money in the profit crater of 2020 and the understaffing has persisted now that volumes are returning to normal. The Sine Wave Delusion is everywhere.
Yet, if you try to communicate your concerns and are cannot manage your anger/frustration/confusion/outrage in this crucial conversation, you are at risk for being labeled, disregarded and thrown under the bus as just another whiney doctor.
Your concerns are real, valid and true and yet if you can't communicate them in a way that the administrative leaders can hear, you are in grave danger of being marginalized.
This abusive labeling has significant, long term negative consequences for everyone involved.
It is the quickest way for the administration to destroy trust on the clinical side of the business.
It often creates permanent consequences for the physician including:
- Diversion into any number of “treatment programs”
- Being fired
- Deciding to quit
In a recent survey of our HappyMD community, 41% of doctors had been labeled disruptive physician at least once and 25% more than once. Administration bullying of physicians and the inappropriate use of disruptive physician label are common topics on physician websites generating long strings of “me too” comments.DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!
Learn the do's and don'ts of communicating up the chain of command especially when you are upset.
Physicians vs. Administration – the battle of communication styles
Why your natural physician communication style causes conflict with non-physician administrators, especially when you are upset.
- 6 powerful communication tools to get your point across
- 4 things you MUST AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
Follow these principles and you will find
1) People you never thought would give you the time of day ... will sit back, stroke their chins and listen to what you have to say.
2) They may even see your point and incorporate some of your ideas going forward ... even if that has never happened before.
3) And you will NOT get labeled "Disruptive".
Ultimately, if you work in an organization with a pattern of hostility towards the physicians and clinical staff and a habit of bullying with the disruptive physician label … you will decide whether that is something you will tolerate or not. You always have the option to vote with your feet.
If you do decide to leave, it is my intention that this disruptive physician toolkit ensures …
- Your concerns have been heard
- You gave it your best shot at ensuring the program made clinical sense
- You don’t have the disruptive physician label hanging round your neck to get in the way of you finding a better position
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT
- Have you ever been labeled a disruptive physician?
- If you are in a leadership position, what communication tools do you use to avoid the disruptive physician label ?
- If you have tried channeling Columbo, how did that go for you?