Bullying Seniors

bullying senior doctorRegistrar or Consultant

'Doing overtime with that registrar again. He knows so much and always asks me all those questions I don't know the answers to, like the seven causes of XYZ. And then he's so sarcastic in front of the nursing staff if I can't give him the right answer. I dread seeing him.

Beep, beep, beep

Sick patient on cardiology ward. Oh, no, that patient looks terrible. SOB, chest sounds awful. But I am not sure what’s wrong with them.

What do I do?’



Tips for dealing with Bullies

No-one expects you to make the correct diagnosis 100% of the time.

The important thing to know as a junior doctor is:

  1. the patient is unwell,
  2. I am not sure what to do
  3. I can call for help.

Developing skills in assertiveness is very important for your future career.  The Centre for Clinical Interventions has some excellent tips on how to gain them.

You may decide to approach the bully directly, to tell them that their behaviour is making it more difficult for you to feel confident and perform well in your role, or you may prefer to speak to their senior, the head of the department or the JMO unit.

If you need immediate help in dealing with a difficult person, you can request support from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at your hospital. You can also consult your GP or a psychologist (see our 'Where to get help' section).



An initiative of the Doctors’ Health Advisory Service (NSW), the Medical Benevolent Association, the AMA Doctors in Training Group, the Resident Medical Officers’ Associations, the Australian Medical Students’ Association, the Clinical Education and Training Institute and the NSW Employee Assistance Program with funding from the Medical Board of NSW (2009).