Promoting Positivity in Your Practice


Even healthy practices have to guard against negativity.

Fam Pract Manag. 2015 Nov-Dec;22(6):44.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

What would you estimate is the ratio of positive to negative statements in your office? Negative statements include unconstructive criticism, complaining, gossiping, blaming, and abusive language. Work environments with high levels of negative talk are often described as toxic. In a caring profession such as primary care, we hope that toxic environments are few and far between; however, even healthy practices have to be vigilant and guard against negativity. Yes, negative things happen and we all make negative statements at times, but we cannot let them become pervasive. Negativity is like a slow-moving cloud that eventually rains cats and dogs on your practice, affecting staff morale.

How can you as a physician help to create a more positive office?

1. Watch your body language. I once worked with an administrator whose facial expression shouted, “Don't bother me!” It was demoralizing to see her walking down the hall toward me, and I attempted to have as little interaction with her as possible. Of course, ignoring such problems in a medical office is not conducive to good patient care. Patients can sense negative feelings between workers

About the Author

J. LeBron McBride is director of behavioral medicine at Floyd Medical Center's Family Medicine Residency in Rome, Ga. He is the author of more than 80 published works and is a licensed family therapist and pastoral counselor.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.


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