The joint mission of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville and UF Health Jacksonville is to heal, to comfort, to educate and to discover through quality health care, elimination of health disparities, medical education, innovation and research. To help accomplish our mission, we are committed to achieving inclusive excellence in a safe environment where the entire health care team can thrive.
While much attention has been focused on addressing health care professionals’ bias toward patients, incidents of patient bias and discrimination toward clinicians and staff also occur and are difficult to navigate. Some describe such incidents with patient bias, prejudice and discrimination as profoundly painful, degrading, and emotionally or physically distressing. Bystanders can also experience distress and uncertainty about how to respond. These experiences can contribute to burnout of the health care team, which can potentially have consequences on patient care.
As a result, there is a new policy in place in the hospital setting that “prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, national origin, age, disability, political opinions or affiliations, genetic information and veteran status.” UF Health Jacksonville recently established the clear policy and procedures to guide staff in responding to incidents of biased patient behavior or discrimination.
The policy includes the following:
- Guidance on how to address a patient who displays discriminatory behavior against staff
- Circumstances when a patient can be reassigned
- Reporting requirements for any instance meeting the policy criteria
- Support for affected staff
Reporting mechanisms will be streamlined since our health care team will use the same reporting system used to report incidents related to patient safety. Reporting will also be centralized to capture data across the entire organization to detect trends and identify departments or groups of the health care team at a higher risk for experiencing patient bias to provide additional support and education.