Speaking up for patient safety and the safety of others in healthcare organisations is recognised as the crux in critical error prevention.  

“Will you speak up if you observe the sort of behaviour that is unlikely to cause harm right now, but if persistent that behaviour will undermine the culture of your organisation? Will you see this as an opportunity to improve patient safety, or will you leave it and hope someone else also saw what you saw and that they will speak up?” (McKinlay. L, 2017)

As stated by the Senior Medical Educator for Cognitive Institute, Dr Lynne McKinlay in her article, Now is the time, “One in ten admissions results in an adverse outcome for a patient. About one in three errors in healthcare are medication errors 2.”

Furthermore, Dr McKinlay discusses the foundations of graded assertiveness programmes and training to enable doctors, nurses and staff to speak up regarding minor and critical errors. In doing so, protecting both the giver and receiver from the negative effects.

“Our current understanding of the role of human error in patient safety recognises that human factors—people, organisational and system factors—may all contribute to patient harm.”

“More commonly, errors are caused by faulty systems, processes, and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them6.” (McKinlay. L, 2017)

Cognitive Institute’s ‘Speaking Up For Safety’ communication skills training programme provides doctors, nurses and healthcare organisations with the skills they need to raise patient safety concerns.

Promoting Professional Accountability Programme

The Cognitive Institute Promoting Professional Accountability Programme, in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, presents an evidence-based framework that builds a culture of safety and reliability within healthcare organisations.

 “One cause of distal harm that we are now starting to understand and address in a systematic way is the impact of unprofessional behaviour. A considerable body of evidence points to unprofessional behaviours and deviations in individual performance as factors which seriously undermine team function, the culture within which health professionals operate and the delivery of safe care — that such behaviour can undermine a culture of safety8.” (McKinlay. L, 2017)

Dr McKinlay states, “A clinician displaying unprofessional behaviour may induce errors around them, as well as modelling poor behaviour. This is not only an issue for students and trainees, but for us all.”

The Promoting Professional Accountability Programme addresses individual behaviours that may undermine safety and reliability. “Confidential reporting of unprofessional behaviour allows the organisation to speak up using trained peers when an individual cannot.” (McKinlay. L, 2017)

Read Dr Lynne McKinlay’s full article, Now is the time.

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