What Are You Doing for Patient Safety Awareness Week?

By Kendra Stea | 0 comments
By the time this post is published we’ll be in the middle of Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 2–8, 2014), and not that patient and staff safety aren’t always on the forefront of my mind given my work, this week I’m thinking about safety even more.

I’ve spent the last two days at a hospital that’s owned by one of the accounts my team supports. We are engaged in a special project for them to create three informal learning opportunities they can host on their LMS to expand the reach of workplace violence prevention training to all staff.

We recognize, as they do, that it is very costly for a hospital to formally pull all staff off of their regular duties to sit for six, eight, or 12 hours in a formal training. Even with our flexible blended learning option, four to six hours is often still too much for some staff groups.

But isn’t preventing violence in healthcare everyone’s responsibility?

Now, you may wonder why I’m talking about the focus on staff safety during Patient Safety Awareness Week, but as I’ve said before, you can’t separate the two. You really can’t. This becomes more and more apparent to me daily.

One of the projects is an eSeminar or online learning module that focuses on preventing lateral violence, or workplace bullying. As I watched the talent play out the scenes I’d written for the video, scenes where one staff is calling another names, threatening to stick the other person with a dirty needle, pushing the person up against a wall to remind the person never to question them again, making ethnic insults . . . I couldn’t help but wonder how the scene would continue in real life.

The person who was just bullied would move on to a patient. How would they set that experience aside to pay full attention to the needs of the patient? Would they be distracted and not use a lift properly? Would they be impatient and cause a patient or visitor to escalate? Would they make an error in the care they were providing because they were so upset?

Another part of the project we were filming for is a short video that will also be hosted on their LMS—a general overview of workplace violence prevention, something every worker in the hospital will have access to.

I watched scene after scene unfold of staff demonstrating care and compassion, even when the “patient” or “visitor” was impatient, or even threatening. I listened as tips were provided for Rational Detachment, or the ability to stay in control of your own behavior and not take acting-out behavior personally.

I watched as the skills of our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program were put to use and I thought, I hope I end up in this hospital. I hope this fictitious hospital I’m creating with the film crew really exists.

And I’m sure it does. I talk to so many of you all the time and I hear your stories.

Next up will be creating another online module about domestic violence—both managing its effects in the workplace, and also helping patients who are victims or perpetrators of violence get the help they need.

If staff are not safe, patients are not safe. If patients are not safe, staff are not safe.

And so today, I’m boarding a plane, getting out of the forsaken winter wonderland of the Midwest (I’m commiserating with all of you who live in the Midwest and on the East Coast—it’s been brutal!), heading to the Emergency Nurses Association Leadership Conference in Phoenix, AZ. (Thank you, ENA!)

There, I might see you—are you coming? If it’s not you, who from your organization is going? Send them over to booth #340 to visit with me and my colleague Ryan Bedroske. Let us help you refine or create an organizational plan to reduce violence of all types in your hospital.

Your patients and your staff will be safer. 

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