Toxic employees. We’ve all worked with them – but can one bad apple really spoil the whole bunch? Having toxic behavior at any company yields bad results. But having it on the hospital floor can have serious consequences. According to a study by Mitchell Kusy, forty-nine percent of nurses that reported toxic behavior by team members said that it has resulted in them wrongly administering medication. And 25% of practitioners in the healthcare industry believe disruptive behavior is directly tied to patient mortality.
So what does this look like for an RN that’s worked on the floor? A former colleague of mine was sharing about a nurse that was difficult to get along with. She constantly picked up extra shifts, worked long hours and never quite seemed happy about her job. Her peers would help her out where they could, but she never wanted to pitch in when the rest of the team needed help with a patient. Her patients seemed relieved when her shift was over and they got a new nurse. When a team that is there to care for people is divided because they are avoiding someone on staff, mistakes are made, patient satisfaction goes down and the care we promise as nurses inadvertently suffers.
1. What is a toxic staff member?
A toxic worker is one who engages in bad behavior while on the job, often to the detriment of the team. And in healthcare specifically, one result is usually poor patient care. Examples of toxic behavior include having a bad attitude, whining, sabotaging others’ work, yelling, and more. Their conduct isn’t done maliciously, but it can still be harmful to their colleagues’ reputations.
2. Can anyone be toxic?
Yes. Everyone from the janitor to the CEO has the potential to be toxic. Whether they feel unappreciated – "I’ll show them for not giving me that promotion!" – or don’t work well with others, no one is immune. In fact, according to that same Kusy study, 80% of doctors have displayed toxic behavior towards staff, and 33% say disruptive physician behaviors occur weekly. No growth opportunities and being overworked are the two biggest ways to create toxics.
3. How do toxics affect my hospital?
So what else does the Kusy study tell us about having toxic staff members in your hospital? Well, for starters, toxic staff wreak havoc on retention, performance, and clinical care outcomes. Among the victims of toxics, 12% end up quitting, (and replacing them can cost over $57k per role!), 38% felt their work quality decreased, and 78% said their organizational commitment declined. For every 10% of unsatisfied nurses, patient recommendations drop 2%.
So what can you do about this in your care center? Cornerstone recently came out with a brief on toxic employees in healthcare that offers some suggestions on how to address this on your team. If you would like to dive further into what you can do to address this in your care center, you can download the rest of the brief here.
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
Who cares about employee experience - a webinar with Ben Whitter
Employee experience once came down solely to a desk, office space, and possibly some free cake at the coffee station. This has completely transformed in recent years, the initial catalyst being the pandemic. The mass exodus from the workplace forced employers to rethink the employee experience (EX), as keeping morale high and workers connected to each other was paramount. However, even in the aftermath of Covid-19, the EX has continued to evolve.
A leading pharmaceutical company drives upskilling at scale using a Learning Experience Platform
The client is a pioneer in the Pharmaceutical Industry with decades of experience in developing innovative products to solve challenging healthcare issues. Their research is directed towards the development of breakthrough treatments and making them available to a large number of people. Their value driven culture is based on innovation, quality, performance and integrity.
How SMBs can embrace Digital Transformation to Revolutionise Talent Management
Small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) are the lifeblood of the British economy. They generate over £2 trillion each year – around half of the private sector turnover – and represent a staggering 61% of the country’s workforce, equivalent to 16.3 million people. SMBs are more than just a melting pot for innovation – they also promote sustainable improvement, and foster organic growth. The key to unlocking new success for these mid-market companies lies in talent management and investment, whether that be in attracting new talent, or in retaining and enhancing the current workforce.