A cardiac surgeon has failed to convince the Industrial Relations Commission that workplace stress excused his rude behaviour.

In August 2020 the surgeon, employed by Queensland Health, received a complaint against him after his interactions with nursing staff during an operation. It was alleged he had repeatedly made disrespectful and bullying comments towards a nurse and breached the Code of Conduct by using profanities and a raised voice towards staff.

Queensland Health substantiated the allegations and said it was considering reprimand, however, the surgeon appealed the investigation to the State Industrial Relations Commission. The surgeon claimed he did not use profanities and was not blasphemous. He explained that his actions were a product of the stressful situation or a misunderstanding due to cultural differences. He also blamed the hospital more broadly for its training practices for nurses.

The Industrial Commission acknowledged the surgeon worked in one of the most stressful occupations and could appreciate that the environment may prompt such statements. However, the statements still constituted disrespectful behaviour. The surgeon should be able to manage his stress reactions and therefore is not an excuse to insult the nurses.

Therefore the Commission found that Queensland Health was entitled to substantiate the allegations and the surgeon’s appeal was rejected.

If you have queries about anything above and want advice personalised to your business, contact us on (08) 9316 9896, or email enquiries@processworx.com.au.

Follow ProcessWorx on LinkedInFacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter to keep up with the latest HR and Safety news.

Written by Danielle McNamee

Download Our eBook for Free

Specialising in HR policies and procedures, the professionals at
ProcessWorx have developed an innovative range of packages to help you
manage your HR needs with clarity.

Contact us to start your HR or Safety assessment for your business