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Defusing Disruptive Staff Behaviours

2 Day Seminar: Positive Behaviour Management, Motivating Others and Dealing with Conflict


Disruptive behaviours in the healthcare environment increase risk by interfering with the provision of safe patient care. This popular program explores this issue and teaches you strategies to deal with a range of disruptive and difficult behaviours. In what can often be a stressful and fast-paced environment, communication problems, anxiety and stress can manifest in difficult behaviours which, if not managed skilfully, can escalate to conflict and even aggression.

In many workplaces, there can also be conflict between co-workers with manipulative or domineering behaviours leading to communication breakdown. Learn skills to identify the triggers and defuse these behaviours before they escalate. This two day seminar includes topics such as human behaviour, communication, aggression management and defusing difficult situations when they arise with patients, visitors and staff. This is an essential learning experience for everyone that works in healthcare.

Need for Program

A positive approach to defusing difficult or disruptive behaviours is essential in healthcare settings where individuals, including staff, patients and visitors, may be under extraordinary or extreme stress. While many courses focus primarily on aggression management, this seminar covers the early interventions that may defuse disruptive situations early and prevent escalation. You will also learn how to deal with conflict and aggression, and improve your communication skills in challenging situations.

Purpose of Program

Defusing Disruptive Behaviours is a two day seminar designed to enhance your skills in defusing difficult behaviours, managing conflict and preventing and dealing with aggression. Participants will learn about communication, human behaviour and behavioural influences. This seminar relates to managing the behaviour of co-workers, patients, visitors and anyone behaving in a disruptive or difficult manner.

Your Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine your understanding of human behaviour to increase your insight into disruptive behaviours
  2. Determine the most significant behavioural influences that may lead to disruptive behaviours
  3. Evaluate and expand your skills in managing behavioural issues with staff, patients and visitors
  4. Develop solution-focused communication skills for defusing conflict, aggression and disruptive behaviours
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Day One

8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


Challenging People and the Consequences

Disruptive behaviours are frequently seen in healthcare settings. Not only can they interfere with day-to-day operations but they can also have effects on both individuals and the organisation. This opening session will look at these effects within the workplace and who can be involved:

  • Disruptive behaviour in staff, visitors and patients
  • Organisational disruption
  • Staff and team disruption
  • Effects on the patient, family and quality of care
  • Who is responsible for managing disruptive behaviour?
  • Effects of not managing disruptive behaviours
  • How to apply solution focused management strategies

10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee

Demonstration of online CPD resources available to Ausmed Education members


Human Behaviour and Motivation

Conflict develops because we are dealing with people's lives, jobs, children, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission or purpose. It is important to understand human behaviours in order to deal with or defuse disruptive behaviour. Perceptions, prior experience and prior learning all contribute to human behaviour and in turn, disruptive, negative or even aggressive behaviours.

  • Emotions, moods, attitudes, intelligence and thinking
  • Anxiety and defense mechanisms
  • Unconscious defense mechanisms
  • Personality development and influences
  • Roles and their influence on behaviours, including carer roles, gender roles and ‘sick’ roles
  • What might lead to disruptive behaviour?
  • Examples of disruptive behaviour in the workplace
  • Understanding Motivation

12:30pm - Lunch Break and Networking


Understanding Thyself and Emotional Intelligence

One of the most effective tools in responding to challenging behaviour in others is to understand our self and to have insight into our present state of mind. This session provides an opportunity to understand our own motivations and to ensure we are not ‘throwing fuel on the fire’ when it comes to dealing with conflict.


Why do Some Staff Behave in a Disruptive Way?

Disruptive behaviours are commonly seen amongst staff and co-workers. This highly interactive session examines some of the more commonly seen behaviours and what the key influences are that lead to disruptive behaviour. Co-workers can cause many challenges in the workplace and can contribute to workplace stress and staff turnover.

  • Influences and factors leading to disruptive behaviour
  • Disruptive co-workers and the influence of power
  • Professionalism and unprofessional behaviour
  • What if it is a manager or a doctor or an administrator?
  • Bullying at work – what is it?
  • Discussion about disruptive behaviours in co-workers
  • Participants will be encouraged to share their own experiences

3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


Disruptive Behaviour in Patients and Visitors

As with staff, patients and visitors may also be disruptive. Stressful environments such as critical care, emergency and mental health may more commonly be associated with disruptive behaviour but it can occur in any setting at any time.

  • What influences disruptive behaviour in visitors and patients?
  • The role of stress and anxiety in visitors and patients
  • Communication problems – lack of information and information overload
  • Support networks and social connectedness
  • Examples and discussion about disruptive behaviours in patients and visitors
  • Participants’ scenarios will also be discussed

4:30pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

Day Two

9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


Timely and Effective Management of Disruptive Behaviour

In order to minimise the effects of disruptive behaviour on the patient, staff and the organisation, it is essential that effective action is taken quickly. Not acknowledging or dealing with disruptive behaviours can have far reaching effects, including poor morale, staff turnover and negative impacts on quality of care.

  • What is 'zero tolerance'?
  • Whose responsibility is it?
  • Preventing disruption and potential violence
  • Actions to deal with disruptive behaviour
  • Reducing the consequences of the disruption
  • Avoiding the pitfalls, including doing nothing and hoping the problem will sort itself out or diminishing the extent of the problem
  • Validating staff experiences
  • Rapidly and thoroughly investigating the problem
  • Adopting a solution focused approach

10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


Strategies for Dealing with Challenging People (Part 1)

Communication skills are essential for establishing positive relationships. In order to communicate effectively, it is essential to have a knowledge of the processes of communication, how to analyse it and how to improve. Communication barriers or breakdowns are not always evident and the reasons for them can be challenging to determine. Poor communication can have negative impacts on behaviour and people's responses during times of stress.

  • Barriers and difficulties in understanding
  • Listening techniques
  • Knowing your own limitations and strengths
  • Understanding the real problem
  • Solution Building

12:00pm - Lunch Break and Networking


Strategies for Dealing with Challenging People (Part 2)

Conflict can arise at any time, particularly in the often-stressful environment of healthcare. Strategies for avoiding aggression are essential but what do you do when it escalates anyway? During this session we cover the skills for dealing with challenging behaviour through the principles of conflict management:

  • Mindful management of conflict
  • Noticing exceptions to the problem
  • Solution focused response to aggression
  • Strategies for dealing with the persistent challenging employee
  • Managing the conflict outcome

It’s one thing to know the theory but another to apply it in practice! During these sessions, you will put your skills to the test in a variety of scenarios. The exercises in this session aim to provide you with the confidence to deal with conflict effectively and ensure successful solution focused outcomes in challenging situations.

2:45pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


Taking Conflict Resolution into the Workplace

There is no one-approach when dealing with conflict. However, having the skills and a good understanding of the nature of conflict will help you to deal with it confidently. As healthcare professionals our role is to bring the best knowledge and strategies to address issues in a productive, respectful and positive manner. This session summarises the seminar content and looks at strategies for applying good practice in the workplace.


Serious Problems

Not all problems can be managed independently. It is important to understand when you must call for help and when to report a problem. More serious problems may require formal reporting, performance management or even police involvement. How do you know what to do and when?

  • Mandatory reporting – what is mandatory, who does it affect and how to report
  • Professional misconduct
  • Physical aggression, assault and criminal matters
  • Grievance procedures
  • Documentation

It’s one thing to know the theory but another to apply it in practice! During these sessions, you will put your skills to the test in a variety of scenarios. The exercises in this session aim to provide you with the confidence to deal with conflict effectively, and ensure successful solution focused outcomes in challenging situations.

4:30pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations



Defusing Difficult Staff Behaviours - 2018

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