Intended for healthcare professionals


Junior doctors hesitate to speak up over unprofessional behaviour, study finds

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 06 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2720
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. BMJ Careers

New doctors are less likely to speak up about a colleague’s unprofessional behaviour than they are about traditional threats to patients’ safety, even when they perceive high potential for harm to patients, a US study has found.

The study found that junior doctors reported “fear of conflict” as a barrier to speaking up about unprofessional behaviour. The authors said that their findings, published in BMJ Quality and Safety,1 showed “important safety deficits” and the need to provide more supportive clinical environments to foster open communication.

The research involved 837 interns (doctors in the first year of postgraduate training) and residents (those in second year or above of postgraduate training) at six US academic medical centres …

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