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Research Letter
April 1, 2020

National Assessment of Workplace Bullying Among Academic Surgeons in the US

Author Affiliations
  • 1Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas
  • 2Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 3Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
  • 4Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri
  • 5Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
  • 6Section Editor, JAMA Surgery
JAMA Surg. Published online April 1, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.0263

Workplace incivility is well known among surgeons; there are stories of instrument throwing, verbal tirades, and sexual harassment.1,2 Fear of humiliation and bullying is strong among medical students,3 and examples of student mistreatment almost invariably involve some surgical anecdote. These stories may reflect a specialty culture of acceptance and a code of silence that facilitate bullying at the workplace.

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    2 Comments for this article
    Not new
    Linnea Priest, MD | retired
    Bullying by surgeons is not new, and if only 40% have witnessed it, that must be a new low. I did two residencies and one fellowship 40 years ago, and I'd say it was 100% back then. I am not going to list the many, many incidents that I witnessed, not just among surgeons. But I still remember them and consider them ACEs, in this case "Adverse Clinical Experiences".
    Under-Reported Bullying by Surgeons
    Harald Aanning, MD | Retired general surgeon
    A surgeon's bullying might be linked to both poor surgical outcomes and an effective mechanism to cover up them up. Corollary behavior includes retaliation when threatened with exposure...

    Significantly, bullying thwarts the transparency, honesty, and hard work critical to making operations safer and more effective...

    The authors' "Work remains to be done in this field..." cannot be denied...