Having a sick child is very stressful for all involved, but if your goal is to help your doctor make that child better, be civil, not rude. University of Florida management professor Amir Erez and doctoral student Trevor Foulk have found that rudeness has “devastating effects on medical performance.” Research on medical errors explain that a doctor’s poor judgment due to a chronic lack of sleep accounts for 10 to 20 percent of the variance in their performance. Rudeness accounts for more than 40 percent.
Erez writes: “[Rudeness] is actually affecting the cognitive system, which directly affects your ability to perform. That tells us something very interesting. People may think that doctors should just ‘get over’ the insult and continue doing their job. However, the study shows that even if doctors have the best intentions in mind, as they usually do, they cannot get over rudeness because it interferes with their cognitive functioning without an ability to control it.”
Erez and Foulk found that the teams that encountered rudeness were deficient in all 11 of the study’s measures, including diagnostic accuracy, information sharing, therapy plan, and communication, over the course of all five scenarios showing that the negative effects last the entire day.
The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but its clear that a rude parent will not improve their child’s care. Don’t wait to make civility a habit. Practice it every day in every relationship.