Archive November 2018 XIX, No. 11

Ideas That Work: Code 13

Anonymous Text Is a Simple Safety Solution

ANONYMOUS HELP

ANONYMOUS HELP When staff text Code 13, they alert OR leadership that they are needed immediately.

Everybody involved in the surgical process has the right to speak up if there’s any type of potential safety event taking place in the OR — but that’s often easier said than done. After all, speaking up during a case can be intimidating, especially for newer nurses or techs.

Our solution: Code 13. Whether it’s disruptive behavior by a surgeon, an issue with informed consent or any other potential safety concern, our team will text Code 13 on a hospital-issued cellphone. And this code can be used in prep, the OR, PACU or even if there’s a tricky situation with a family member in the waiting area. This code notifies OR leadership that they are needed immediately. From there, my supervisor, 2 surgical coordinators and I will head into the OR to get a different set of eyes on the issue or de-escalate the situation.

When we first rolled out the Code 13, naturally our physicians weren’t crazy about the interruptions. But safety is a cornerstone of our culture. After a while, it became clear the process was here to stay. Now, everybody is used to our Code 13s, and you can feel the atmosphere instantly change when we enter the room.

The simple act of giving people an anonymous way to speak up has shown our staff that leadership has their back and ensures our team feels supported to ask questions — regardless of whether they’re right or wrong — to make sure patient safety is always our top priority.

Sue Ellen Dalton, BSN, RN, CAPA
Novant Health Charlotte Outpatient Surgery
Charlotte, N.C.
sedalton@novanthealth.org

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