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Disruptive and Toxic Behaviors in Healthcare: Zero Tolerance,
the Bottom Line,
and What to Do About It

Disruptive and Toxic Behaviors in Healthcare: Zero Tolerance, the Bottom Line, and What to Do About It


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Elizabeth L. Holloway, PhD, and Mitchell E. Kusy, PhD
In this economic downturn, healthcare leaders must attend to both the human- and bottom-line. Unfortunately, one significant problem affecting both—disruptive behaviors—has long been under the radar screen in healthcare. People who habitually exhibit these behaviors have been referred to in many ways: toxic, uncivil, and intimidating, to name a few. This article provides the results of the authors’ research study of over 400 leaders and mitigation strategies for dealing with toxic, uncivil behaviors. In particular, it presents a three-point systems approach for intervention—one that is both proactive and reactive, and aligned with the new Joint Commission standards.