Dealing with disruptive team members: Correcting "bad behaviors" while avoiding disruptions

Kelsey Ensor, Mamta Swaroop, Leah Tatebe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Multidisciplinary healthcare teams have repeatedly demonstrated their efficacy in improving patient outcomes. Despite the endless potential of these collaborations, their effectiveness is limited by interpersonal dynamics. Disruptive individuals further exacerbate this already challenging setting. Aside from creating an unpleasant work environment, unprofessional behavior has been linked to increased medical errors and poorer patient outcomes. A breakdown in team communication can also adversely affect the physician-patient relationship. The etiology of this behavior is often multifactorial, and requires careful evaluation to address possible underlying issues such as substance abuse and psychiatric conditions. Currently, many healthcare systems do not adequately recognize warning signs or take appropriate actions to prevent, mitigate or correct the effects of disruptive individuals. To effectively tackle this problem, institutions must adopt a zerotolerance policy for certain behaviors, establish clear expectations, provide training for appropriate behavior, and develop a system to review and respond to reports of misconduct. Only if such policies are implemented early and consistently can one expect to appreciate significant impact on the overall organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFundamentals of Leadership for Healthcare Professionals
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781536136210
ISBN (Print)9781536136203
StatePublished - Apr 27 2018


  • Disciplinary action
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Healthcare teams
  • Organizational dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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