How to call out rudeness (politely) at work

Our podcast guest explains how taking appropriate action can protect yourself and your team’s well-being – and that of your patients too

Photo of a nurse looking offended by a colleague, illustrating a podcast story about incivility at work
Picture: iStock

A rolling of the eyes, talking over you, or plain rudeness – we might all have a colleague who behaves in an uncivil way. But should you do anything about it, or just ignore it?

Incivility at work can take many different guises and can leave people feeling dejected, unmotivated and unfairly treated.

The latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast looks at how to deal with incivility in the workplace, and why in a healthcare setting its impact can mean life or death.

The consequences of incivility

Our guest is consultant in emergency medicine Dr Chris Turner who founded Civility Saves Lives, a group that works to raise awareness about the importance of being civil in the health service to protect patients.

The group, which advocates for better working relationships, says that almost half of staff who experience incivility will reduce their amount of time at work, and a quarter will take it out on others, including service users.

How to talk about acts of incivility

Dr Turner, who works at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, tells senior reporter Alison Stacey how to recognise incivility – both in yourself and others. He also explains the best time to approach a conversation about incivility, how to have that conversation, and who should be taking part.

With nurses and other healthcare professionals under immense pressure every day, Dr Turner says civility needs to be ‘fundamental’ to the fibre of the workplace.

‘The worst thing we can do is just pass it off as “they’re just rude”. It’s professionally unfair to them and it’s professionally unfair to the people in the team,’ he says.

More Nursing Standard podcasts

Find out more

Civility Saves Lives website


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