The Benefits of Civility Training to Counteract Healthcare Workplace Bullying

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

In a recent HealthStream webinar, How to Banish the Bully Who Wreaks Havoc in Healthcare,  Linda Leekley, CEO and founder of In the Know, advises, “If you’re in a position of leadership, consider implementing civility training in your workplace.”  She shares that “Every employee from administration to the frontlines…” needs “to understand the importance of civility, especially in a high-stress environment like healthcare.”

Further, Leekley recommends that “The training should cover ethical behavior, teamwork, and conflict resolution, and it should emphasize the undisputable key point that the power and the responsibility to overcome a culture of incivility rests within each of us.”

Why is a civil workplace so valuable in healthcare? Leekley points out numerous benefits for healthcare organizations—for patients and the organizations themselves.

Reduce Medical Errors

Supporting her position that this kind of training has great value for healthcare organizations, Leekley offers, “Aside from meeting the Joint Commission’s recommendations, healthcare organizations that mandate civility training [have] found that it reduces costly medical errors.” She explains that it’s not difficult to understand how “Incivility ruins communication among your employees and… is a direct threat to patient safety.” The imperative to adopt measures to eliminate this risk to outcomes is clear; “Civility training decreases dangers and potentially deadly medical errors by improving teamwork and communication.”

Improve Employee Retention

Civility training increases employee retention. Leekley shares that “A staggering number of healthcare employees report having quit a job because of incivility.” Civility training improves retention, which in turn saves “your organization the precious time and money involved in hiring and training new employees.”

Lessen Absenteeism

Leekley tells us that “Civility training also cuts down on callouts and absenteeism.” Leekley offers that “As many as 47% of healthcare employees report spending less time at work because of incivility.” As a counterpoint, a civil environment has an atmosphere “that energizes and inspires those who are in it.” Leekley tells us that “employees who are energized and inspired will look forward to coming to work.”

Make Workplace Conflict and Drama Less Significant

Civility training also helps to eliminate workplace conflict and drama. Leekley advises that “Healthcare professionals who embrace civility are less likely to burnout, bully, or ‘eat their young;’ this means less conflict and drama among their employees.”

Improve Patient Satisfaction

Civility training also supports improved patient satisfaction and enhanced organizational reputation. Leekley reminds us that “Disgruntled, dissatisfied, and disengaged employees don’t provide safe quality care to the patients they serve.” This, she adds, “leads to a decrease in patient satisfaction. Patients who are dissatisfied with the care they received share their negative experience with others in the community.” Leekley says “If your organization embraces civility, you will enjoy improved patient satisfaction and an enhanced reputation in the community.”

Access the complete Webinar recording

About Linda Leekley

Linda Leekley, CEO and founder of In the Know, began her nursing career in the research oncology department at Duke University Medical Center. She then followed her acute care experience with a year in home healthcare.

In 1998, Linda recognized that a void existed when it came to training options for nurse aides and caregivers. So she blended her nursing experience in both acute care and long-term care with her years as a clinical educator and the result was In the Know.

Linda is also the co-author of the book, The Real Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Stability Can Beat Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career. Published in 2012, the book continues to be used as a primer for stability training programs at healthcare organizations across the country.