Archive Staff & Patient Safety 2018

On Point: Have You Established a Culture of Safety?

Talk is cheap when it comes to protecting patients and staff from harm.

Elizabeth Wick

Elizabeth Wick, MD

BIO

HEALTH CARE
Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
HEALTH CARE Staff need to look after their own well-being so they can focus on safe patient care.

Safety Culture is a phrase that's noted in clinical studies, preached from conference podiums and discussed during online webinars. But what does that concept look and feel like on a daily basis in your facility and among your staff? Start with this: One person's attitude is an opinion. Everybody's attitude is culture. You're ultimately responsible for instilling safety-minded core beliefs in every member of your patient care team, from pre-op to PACU. Use these 5 tips to turn a safety catch phrase into tangible improvements in how your staff protects themselves and their patients.

1Set the tone
Integrate safety practices into daily work routines. Set aside paid time to conduct educational sessions about how to implement best practices in staff and patient safety. Get out from behind your desk to go see what's happening in pre-op, in the OR and in the PACU. Ask open-ended questions about safety to staff in each area and be receptive to their feedback. They know what's really happening in the trenches and their insights on how to make safety improvements are invaluable.

You also promote a safety culture by emphasizing the proper use of surgical checklists, mandating the evacuation of surgical smoke, making sure your staff is trained to prevent patient harm and helping them understand that looking out for their own well-being is just as important as caring for their patients.

2Empower your staff

Every member of your surgical team, from the newly hired tech to the veteran circulating nurse, must be comfortable speaking up and speaking out if they see something amiss at any point during patient care. Reward members who alert you to safety concerns, acknowledge their concerns and take immediate corrective action if it's warranted.

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