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Tools for Responding to Patient-Initiated Verbal Sexual Harassment: A Workshop for Trainees and Faculty

Authors
  • Hock, Lauren E.1
  • Barlow, Patrick B.2
  • Scruggs, Brittni A.3
  • Oetting, Thomas A.4
  • Martinez, Denise A.5
  • Abràmoff, Michael D.6
  • Shriver, Erin M.7
  • 1 Resident Physician, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
  • 2 Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
  • 3 & Science University
  • 4 Clinical Professor and Ophthalmology Residency Program Director, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
  • 5 Associate Dean, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
  • 6 Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
  • 7 Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
Type
Published Article
Journal
MedEdPORTAL : the Journal of Teaching and Learning Resources
Publisher
Association of American Medical Colleges
Publication Date
Feb 11, 2021
Volume
17
Identifiers
DOI: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.11096
PMID: 33598539
PMCID: PMC7880260
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Original Publication
License
Green

Abstract

Introduction Patients are the most common source of gender-based harassment of resident physicians, yet residents receive little training on how to handle it. Few resources exist for residents wishing to address patient-initiated verbal sexual harassment themselves. Methods We developed, taught, and evaluated a 50-minute workshop to prepare residents and faculty to respond to patient-initiated verbal sexual harassment toward themselves and others. The workshop used an interactive lecture and role-play scenarios to teach a tool kit of communication strategies for responding to harassment. Participants completed retrospective pre-post surveys on their ability to meet the learning objectives and their preparedness to respond. Results Ninety-one participants (57 trainees, 34 faculty) completed surveys at one of five workshop sessions across multiple departments. Before the workshop, two-thirds (67%) had experienced patient-initiated sexual harassment, and only 28 out of 59 (48%) had ever addressed it. Seventy-five percent of participants had never received training on responding to patient-initiated sexual harassment. After the workshop, participants reported significant improvement in their preparedness to recognize and respond to all forms of patient-initiated verbal sexual harassment ( p < .01), with the greatest improvements noted in responding to mild forms of verbal sexual harassment, such as comments on appearance or attractiveness or inappropriate jokes ( p < .01). Discussion This workshop fills a void by preparing residents and faculty to respond to verbal sexual harassment from patients that is not directly observed. Role-play and rehearsal of an individualized response script significantly improved participants' preparedness to respond to harassment toward themselves and others.

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