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An ideal hospital: Is leading a workforce engagement strategy the key to tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination in surgical practice?

Singithi (Sidney) Chandrasiri (Medical Management, Epworth HealthCare, Richmond, Australia)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore a novel overarching strategy in tackling the key issues raised by the recent inquiry into bullying, harassment and discrimination in surgical practice and surgical training in Australian and New Zealand hospitals.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken is an analysis of the available evidence-based literature to inform the proposed viewpoint. The theoretical subject scope presented is a discussion of how and why the various strategies put forward in this paper should be integrated into and led from an overarching workforce engagement platform.

Findings

The key themes isolated from the Inquiry into Australian and New Zealand surgical practice ranged from abuse of power by those in leadership positions, gender inequity in the surgical workforce, opaque and corrupt complaints handling processes, excessive surgical trainee working hours to bystander silence secondary to a fear of reprisal. A workforce engagement perspective has elicited the potential to counter various impacts, that of clinical ineffectiveness, substandard quality and safety, inefficient medical workforce management outcomes, adverse economic implications and the operational profitability of a hospital. Generic strategies grounded in evidence-based literature were able to then be aligned with specific action areas to provide a new leadership framework for addressing these impacts.

Originality/value

To the author’s knowledge, this is one of the first responses providing a framework on how medical managers and hospital executives can begin to lead a comprehensive and practical strategy for changing the existing culture of bullying, harassment and discrimination in surgical practice by using a staff engagement framework.

Keywords

Citation

Chandrasiri, S.(S). (2017), "An ideal hospital: Is leading a workforce engagement strategy the key to tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination in surgical practice?", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 263-271. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHS-03-2016-0014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited