A healthy dose of (workplace) culture

Last month, at CRICO, we hosted healthcare leaders from around the country at our annual patient safety symposium “Walk This Way”. My talented colleague and dear friend, Dana Siegal, RN, CPHRM, opened up the meeting with a theatrically inspired look back over her career as a registered nurse, and patient safety expert. Reflecting through narrative and performance that we (healthcare) have come a long way with regard to our tolerance/acceptance of smoking in the workplace…

Cigarette

Now, if that’s all you were left with, you missed her point! She deftly wove the analogy of smoking in with many other “journeys” of change, from seat-belts to car seats, from drunk driving to exposure to sunshine safety. Up to and including our current journey of patient safety; from pre-IOM report, through “Crossing the Quality Chasm”, up to and including the most recent Lucian Leape white papers.

NPSF-LLI_Logo_for-web

With this as a back drop, Dana challenged us with a hopeful message, that indeed journey’s such as these take time, require leadership and demand that we stay focused. We explored how attitudes, policies, and behaviors—that is, the workplace culture— related to smoking changes over time. We looked back in amazement to a time when physicians, nurses, and patients openly smoked cigarettes in hospitals and other health care settings…

Then we asked our Walk This Way attendees to place themselves 10 years into the future, and make a prediction about changes related to patient safety in their workplace that would make the look back in amazement…

The following is sample of the view from 2024.

It’s hard to believe that back in 2014 we:

  • Worried that all clinicians were not reporting adverse events or near misses or good catches
  • Took over a year to build a patient portal while arguing about what to “allow” patients to see
  • Shouted at colleagues while treating patients when something went wrong
  • Sequestered doctors and nurses from other health care workers
  • Kept adverse events a secret from staff
  • Expected patients to make their own appointments for consults and follow-ups
  • Blamed people working in bad systems versus looking at the process and making that better

 It’s hard to believe that back in 2014 we didn’t:

  • Allow patients full access to all parts of their medical record so that they can truly partner with us in their care
  • Always wash our hands when seeing patients
  • Feel comfortable stopping the line when something doesn’t seem right
  • Have a standardized handoff process
  • Have efficient systems for formally tracking/following up on abnormal test results
  • Respond effectively to every instance of disrespectful behavior
  • Round on patients as an interdisciplinary team

 

By definition, this is our “current state”…

What will you look back on in 2024 and be “amazed” that we did or didn’t do?

Does it need to take us ten years?

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