Archive June 2017 XVIII, No. 6

Ideas That Work: How to Make Your Time Outs Resonate

gong STRIKING Ms. Brenckle (left) and Ms. Gealer with one of the Tibetan gongs their cath labs use to "get your attention and set the intention" during time outs.

How to Make Your Time Outs Resonate

Striking a gong signals the beginning of a spiritual event, a prayer or a special ceremony — in other words, something important. The vibrations are supposed to clear the mind and connect the energy of the people in the room. That's why hanging a Tibetan gong in each of our cath labs was the perfect way to set the tone for a proper time out before every procedure. When the recorder strikes the wall-mounted gong, it commands your attention and sets the intention, and it creates a sort of Pavlovian response to be mindful, engaged and focused on patient safety. Since we added our first gong in April 2016, we now have 24 gongs spread throughout our cath labs, operating rooms and endoscopy suites.

A good gong is easier to come by than you might think; we found ours — it's 14 inches in diameter and is inscribed with the Chinese characters for "Peace is here" — in a Staples office-supplies catalog, for about $75. The accompanying mallet comes with a rubber head and a porous wooden handle, but we had our maintenance department replace the handle with that of a surgical hammer so it meets AORN standards.

Erica A. Brenckle, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
Delia Gealer, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital
Warren, Mich.

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