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April Messenger 2021, Physicians | Posted April 8, 2021

How conversations with our colleagues can clear the air and build trust

A physician, Dr. A, recently called CPSA with concerns about the professionalism displayed by another physician, Dr. B. The concerns were not about quality of care but rather, Dr. A explained Dr. B had made several negative social media posts in response to a recent referral Dr. A had made to Dr. B. Although no identifying information was explicitly included, the content of the posts was such that colleagues recognized the posts referred to Dr. A.

A preliminary discussion between Drs. A and B took place in an attempt to resolve the situation, but was ultimately not satisfactory for both parties. However, the two physicians arranged a second phone call between them.

Below is what Dr. A had to share as a result of the conversation with their colleague:

“I had my meeting with Dr. B yesterday. I believe the meeting went well. I also believe that giving both of ourselves a few days to reflect on this incident was helpful as well.

It was a pleasant and mature discussion. I do believe the doctor took time to reflect on their actions and realized the error in choosing the social media platform to vent their frustrations with my referral. I felt there was sincere remorse and regret over the postings made on social media.

We both acknowledged the standards of practice set forth by CPSA, as it relates to respectful communication with colleagues. 

I think the pandemic, the health care and political dynamics of our province, along with the continued demand of being a physician and delivering care are having an effect on everyone. Neither I nor this physician are an exception and I am more understanding of this after speaking with this doctor. 

The doctor had already removed the social media posts last week and agreed there would be an apology on the same platforms that were used for the inappropriate posts. I have seen them and they are an accurate reflection of what I had expected. I am entirely satisfied with the apology.

I believe this regret and apology is genuine. By the end of the call, it did not feel like I was speaking with an adversary or opponent. It felt like I was talking with a trusted colleague, a member of a common multidisciplinary effort, with the same goal: excellent patient care.”

CPSA commends both physicians for the high degree of professionalism and collegiality they exhibited, which brought this concern to a very satisfactory conclusion.

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