J Med Ethics 31:540-541 doi:10.1136/jme.2004.010843
  • Law, ethics, and medicine

Rumours: constructive or corrosive

  1. R G Robertson
  1. Correspondence to:
 R G Robertson
 Department of Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA;
  • Received 7 October 2004
  • Accepted 11 October 2004


There is an ever-greater emphasis on the maintenance of professional standards in communication among medical professionals. Much of the focus to date revolves around discourse between patients and families in the clinical arena and reflects standards developed by accrediting agencies and the government. Little has been written about the communication among professionals occurring in the administrative milieu that is largely unseen by those not engaged in the direct provision of or receipt of medical care. That rumours are a part of the interactive discourse is likely not unfamiliar to most in academia. Their potential for damage to the workplace and individuals is very real and requires recognition and in some situations, corporate action. There are options to reduce the likelihood of these kinds of communications and to manage them actively when they occur. What may result is an environment that leads to greater organisational confidence and individual productivity.