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Archive February 2020 XXI, No. 2

Ideas That Work: Secret Room

Help Staff Spot Mistakes in Seconds

Cityview Surgery Center
THINK FAST Staff at Cityview Surgery Center look at a room purposely filled with safety violations, and write down the errors they find.

Want to see how skilled your staff is at noticing errors in the OR? Make a competition of it. That’s what our creative in-service coordinators did with our “Secret Room” — a room that is intentionally filled with common errors, shortcuts and safety mistakes — and the results have been fantastic.

The night before our annual in-service day, after everybody else has gone home, two staff members stage 20 to 25 errors — things like a bloody tourniquet left on a patient’s bedside stand, a surgery schedule in full view, an overflowing sharps container — at a bedside in our PACU.

The next day staff are divided into two teams. Each team is brought in to view the room for 30 seconds, and members write down all of the errors they can find. This 30-second time limit is key. Anybody can spot issues if they have the time to really look, but we all know how fast everything moves at busy outpatient facilities. If your staff can spot problems quickly and under pressure, there’s a good chance they’ll do the same during a stressful surgery. After the scores are tallied (a point for each mistake noticed), the team that spots the most errors wins. This year every member of the winning team got Starbucks gift cards. And deservedly so. They correctly guessed all 25 of the errors in the Secret Room.

Jane Bell, RN, BSN
Cityview Surgery Center
Fort Worth, Texas

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