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Abstract

While organizations are valiantly striving to address acts of disruption among physicians and nurses, a silent and yet equally disruptive pathology is spreading through the veins of the organization. This behavior is found among all ranks and responsibilities, from the C-suite to the housekeeping staff. It occurs daily and is rarely reported. It continues because its nature is such that it is difficult to measure, the victims often feel helpless, and the perpetrators are often those in positions that are not normally perceived to be as essential to the flow of patient care. Nonetheless, this insidious intimidation chills communication, reduces morale, and ultimately harms patients. Organizations that desire a culture of safety and comfort must address this behavior through individual coaching, education of all staff, a willingness to tackle system frustrations that amplify and perpetuate the behavior, and establish processes for dealing fairly and firmly with the behavior.