Strategies to deal with resident discrimination

Residency Program Insider, November 18, 2016

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After witnessing discrimination directed at a resident from a patient’s family in their emergency department, researchers from the department of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, set out to identify strategies to respond to mistreatment. Researchers interviewed 13 faculty members and reviewed several scenarios in which trainees faced patient discrimination.

From the faculty interviews, the following four themes emerged for how to respond to discrimination:
•    Assess illness acuity. Providers should assess patients’ medical needs to determine if immediate medical intervention is necessary. In emergencies, providers should ignore or avoid responding to discriminatory remarks.
•    Cultivate a therapeutic alliance. Establish trust with patients and families by identifying, naming, and validating the emotional experience underlying the discriminatory remark.
•    Depersonalize the event. Don’t take comments personally and recognize that discriminatory remarks more often are reflective of the patients and their families than of the provider.
•    Ensure a safe learning environment for trainees. Provide sufficient support to residents to counteract the potential harmful effects of discrimination.

Source: Academic Medicine

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