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Working in health care is demanding but rewarding. The pressures of high standards of patient care, productivity, limited resources, and different multidisciplinary approaches in the health care setting can lead to frustrations and anger. Anger is a common, normal, and valid emotion. However how we behave and treat others when we are angry can impact our relationships, our work environment, and the care we provide to patients. If you (or someone close to you) find yourself impatient and irritable with colleagues, patients or students you may well have a problem with anger management Explosive outbursts, yelling, screaming, behaving unprofessionally or disruptively can compromise standards of care. Anger can increase risk for patients and colleagues and may lead to malpractice claims. Condescension, verbal aggression, criticism, contempt, and sarcasm can be subtler forms of anger that will also damage relationships.
Take this quick true/false ANGER quiz:
- I am often irritable and cranky
- I am on guard to keep others from taking advantage of me
- I have angry outbursts
- I can make degrading comments or insult people
- I often feel stressed and pressured, or in a rush
- I often feel unfairly treated or disrespected
- I think a lot about how to retaliate when I have been criticized
- People avoid me at work or at home
- Sometimes I have been so angry I have wanted to hit someone, or have actually hit someone
- I feel like I am always fighting with my partner, family members, or someone at work
- When someone cuts me off in traffic, I am enraged
- People in my life sometimes seem afraid of me
If you answered true to three or more statements, you may benefit from talking to someone about learning to manage your anger. If your anger or violence is directed only at your spouse/partner, this may be a sign of an abusive relationship.
There are many resources to help manage the anger, both on campus and off campus. Please reach out to speak with someone about your concerns.
Employee Assistance Office – confidential counseling via toll-free phone line or in person for BMC employees and eligible dependents.
Faculty and Staff Assistance Office – free, confidential counseling and referral service for faculty, staff and their families with locations on both Medical and Charles River campuses
Social Work Therapy Referral Service – free, confidential telephone referral service that provides professional, personalized counseling referrals matched for location, specialty and insurance or fee requirements. 800-242-9794
Outlook Associates of New England – workshops and treatment services for organizations and individuals with focus on anger management
STEP Boston (at North Station) – outpatient individual and group counseling, alcohol and other drug evaluations, recovery case management, a violence intervention/ prevention program, and other ambulatory services
Eliot Community Human Services and Tri-City Mental Health – private non-profit human service agency that provides a range of services
Emerge – abuser education and anger management services aimed to eliminate violence in intimate relationships
Anger Management: 10 tips to tame your temper – simple anger management tips to stay in control (Mayo Clinic)