At Sinai Health, we recognize that safety is an underlying principle in every interaction that we have with patients. From the moment patients walk through our doors, to their continued recovery in their community, our people go above and beyond to ensure that patient safety is prioritized.
It’s not always easy. We work in a fast-paced, high pressure environment, with a complex patient population. But we rely on each other to identify problems before they happen, and when errors do occur, we share that information to prevent future errors.
This is all part of creating a just culture, or a workplace culture that focuses on the causes of errors rather than blame, where our people feel comfortable reporting errors so we can design better systems that prevent detect and minimizes errors. At Sinai Health, we encourage accountability at all levels of the organization for learning from our mistakes and engaging in continuous efforts to improve patient safety. Patient safety is part of everything we do.
We spoke to a cross-section of our people from different disciplines across Sinai Health to ask them their thoughts on building a workplace culture that supports patient care and encourages our colleagues to create the safest environment possible.
“When I work with trainees, I share my own experiences – both when I was new to the job, and now as an experienced physician. Rather than feel shame and embarrassment, I encourage them to speak up and disclose medical errors, so that we can address the challenge that contributed to making an error, and make sure we can all learn from it.”
“To create a just culture and a culture of patient safety, we ask the question: ‘What was missing in the system that allowed this error to happen?’ We don’t ask: ‘who is at fault?’”
“Everyone on my team works together and stays in constant communication so we can ensure that patients are safe, and feel safe, when they are vulnerable. If a problem arises, we know we can talk to our managers about it so that we can all address the situation together.”
“Every month, physicians and nurses working on Labour and Delivery meet and learn together, sharing information about how to fill out safety reports and what reports have come through since we met last. It’s more work to fix a system that may have contributed to an error than it is to just blame a person for a mistake – but it is definitely worth it, and benefits everyone in the long run.”
“When it comes to discussing safety – everyone has a role to play. The more contributions we have, whether they are new to the team or have decades of experience, the more solutions we can come up with to ensure our patients are experiencing a safe environment for their care.”
“Patient safety is everyone’s responsibility. As nurses, we encourage patients and families to participate in safety assessments. This means we all work together as a team, and we all feel comfortable sharing ideas to keep patients safe.”
This story originally appeared in September 2019 to support our Patient Safety Culture Survey, administered by Accreditation Canada. Thanks again to everyone who participated in that survey. We are proud to say that we had a 32% increase in participation this year!