Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 2 2018 - Page 42

PRACTICE PARTNER Dr. Michael Kaufmann (top) and Dr. Joy Albuquerque (bottom) behaviour, says Dr. Kaufmann, is really about being uncivil – talking to colleagues in ways that are rude, condescending or show a lack of regard. Dr. Kaufmann offers a couple of definitions of civility. It’s more than being polite (although that should go without saying). For colleagues (and anyone), civility also means disagreeing without disrespect, seek- ing common ground as a starting point, and demonstrating care for the welfare of others and for the culture you share. “How we govern ourselves and how we act matters,” adds Dr. Joy Albuquerque, a psychiatrist and cur- rent Medical Director of the OMA’s Physician Health Program. In a presentation he has given on the topic, Dr. Kaufmann shows an image of three intersecting circles. One is labelled medical knowledge, one clinical skill and one civil- ity. The area where they all meet is labelled competence. You can’t truly be a competent professional, he offers, without a large mea- sure of civility. The danger of civility gaps This isn’t just about manners. Here’s why incivility can have such a corrosive effect in health-care settings, affecting colleagues and patients both directly and indirectly. When what Dr. Kaufmann calls “civility gaps” exist, the workplace can become un- healthy or unhappy. Morale can suffer. Burn- out becomes an issue. Service levels drop off. Mistakes happen. Some people don’t want to work with certain other people. Communi- cation and workflows break down. “You see workarounds, or maybe the best skills aren’t merging. And the patient suf- 42 DIALOGUE ISSUE 2, 2018 f