Promoting Professional Behavior

Our Credo and Credo Behaviors – It’s Who We are

When we were hired, we were asked to sign our commitment to these behaviors. Annually at evaluation time, we are evaluated on our performance around Credo Behaviors. The real challenge is to commit to these behaviors on a daily basis. Click to view the Vanderbilt Credo.

In addition, as part of sustaining our Magnet Culture/Values, we are committed to create and maintain an engaging, nurturing, supportive and safe environment for all nurses who practice at Vanderbilt. Anything else decreases our ability to provide quality patient care and increases nursing turnover. Stimulated by what has been defined as a growing problem of verbal abuse and disrespectful behavior among nurses across the country, The American Nurses Association (ANA) has issued a Position Statement on “Zero Tolerance for Abuse.” Although not isolated to healthcare settings, the growing nursing shortage and increased patient acuity heightens our commitment to eliminate these behaviors from Vanderbilt.

Unprofessional behavior has been defined by many people in many different ways in the literature. A few examples of unprofessional behavior include:

  • Belittling someone’s opinion or condescending language
  • Negative or belittling nonverbal messages – deliberate rolling of eyes, raising eyebrows, making faces
  • Constant criticism, scapegoating, fault-finding
  • Elitist attitude regarding practice area, education, experience
  • Undermining activities or unnecessary disruption
  • Angry or emotional outbursts
  • Reluctance or refusal to answer questions
  • “Eating our young” phenomenon
  • Spreading rumors and or pitting staff against each other

In simple terms, unprofessional behavior is anything that is out of line with our Credo and makes us “feel” uncomfortable, hurt, intimidated, threatened or “targeted” in any way and stands in the way of quality patient care.

Vanderbilt nursing leaders are committed to creating and sustaining an environment that are free from unprofessional behavior. Vanderbilt nurses are committed to each other and quality patient outcomes. Please review VUMC's Professional Conduct Policy OP 30-10.13.

Click to access materials from the November 18, 2008 Professional Behavior and a Healthy Workplace Culture for Clinical Leaders.

Below are articles/literature regarding Professional Behaviors and nursing:

  • "A Survey of the Impact of Disruptive Behaviors and Communication Defects on Patient Safety Leadership"
    by Alan H. Rosenstein, M.D., M.B.A.; Michelle O’Daniel, M.H.A., M.S.G.
  • AACN Article "Zero Tolerance for Abuse"
  • "Are Our Interactions Nice or Nasty"
  • "Horizontal Violence: Experiences of Registered Nurses in their First Year"
  • "Lateral Violence and Bullying in the Workplace"
  • "Leveling Horizontal Violence"
  • "Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations for Healthcare"
  • "Teaching Cognitive Rehearsal as a Shield for Lateral Violence:
  • An Intervention for Newly Licensed Nurses"
  • "Zero Tolerance for Disruptive Behavior"
    by Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, FAAN, NEA-BC, Editor-in-Chief (American Nurse Today Volume 3, Number 10)