7 steps to combat bullying in radiology

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Bully behavior isn’t something confined to the schoolyard. According to recent research, 63 percent of student radiographers reported being the subject of bullying—with 17 percent reporting more than 10 incidents.

A recent paper by a team of researchers led by Jay, R. Parikh, MD, with the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center in Houston explores bullying in radiology. Published in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, it also includes a seven-step strategy of combatting such behavior.

1. Educate physicians-in-training and technologists-in-training about bullying and the need to report such behavior.

2. Provide education on bullying for all employees.

3. Regulate feedback with guidelines on how input should be delivered.

4. Maintain a policy that protects those who report bullying.

5. Provide career and financial counseling to support victims of bullying.

6. Review teaching techniques to ensure a clear distinction between the Socratic method and bullying.

7. The ACR Commission on Human Resources recommends that similar policies be extended to nonhospital settings.

In 2008, the Joint Commission implemented a two-pronged standard to handle inappropriate behaviors in the hospital setting. First, the hospital should have a code of conduct that defines acceptable behaviors and those that are disruptive. Second, leaders need to create and implement processes for handle such behavior.

“Further studies are required and encouraged by the ACR Commission on Human Resources to specifically investigate bullying of radiology and radiation oncology residents, radiologists and radiation oncologists,” Parikh et al. wrote.