You are an Orthopaedic ST3 in a teaching hospital. Your consultant has asked you and your registrar colleague to complete an audit. You and your registrar have completed data collection and your registrar is writing the audit up. On the first draft of the report you notice the name of another registrar in the department. You do not believe he has done any work on this and one of your colleagues informs you that the two registrars frequently exchange names on audits to boost their CVs.
You are working in a team consisting of your consultant and an additional registrar. You are unsure on everything that has been done for the audit and unsure who added the registrars name to the first draft.
“First I will attempt to seek information. I will start off by having a private conversation with the registrar who completed the write up. I would ask them what the other registrar has contributed to the paper and if the consultant is aware of their contribution.”
There is no direct risk to patient safety in this scenario. However, if someone is acting without integrity this could spill over into their clinical practice.
After initially gathering information it is important to state what you will do with the information gathered.
“The registrar may be able to outline what their role in the paper was. However, if they were unable to justify why they were an author on the paper I would explain to them that they are acting dishonestly by claiming credit for the work. I would provide them with an opportunity to amend the paper draft.
In this scenario there is a consultant in charge of the paper who you could go to for assistance. In addition, you could speak in private with your educational supervisor.
“If they refused I would explain that I will escalate my concerns to the consultant in charge. I would also discuss the situation with my educational supervisor.”
“I will reflect on how I can avoid similar situations in the future and discuss the situation with my educational supervisor to see if he had any advice on how I should address similar situations if they occur in the future.”