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“Simulation is very effective at helping people deal with difficult situations … many of us believe it will become more and more woven into everyday medical practice and teaching.”

— Lucian Leape, MD, in “The Father of Patient Safety” from BMJ

Provide training for your team

Patient safety happens by design. Train your team starting from their first day and continuing forward. There is always more to learn about best practices for keeping patients safe.

Training about patient safety is an ongoing process
  • Include basic information about patient and colleague safety in your orientation or onboarding process for new staff.
  • Continue to train staff about best practices for safety on an ongoing basis.
    • Include team exercises such as simulations.
    • Check that all staff can describe processes the same way to make sure there is a shared understanding. This is particularly important after a process changes to improve patient safety (e.g., a new system for verifying a patient’s identity), to incorporate new equipment or information into existing workflows, or to follow a new regulation.
    • Encourage staff to take advantage of in-depth training opportunities. Many organizations offer continuing medical education credits related to patient safety topics that will be of interest to staff members and helpful to your organization.
  • Look for established national or local organizations with evidence-based patient safety training programs. For example:
Educate patients and families about safety so they can help you improve
  • Let them know about your organization’s standards for safe care so they can be a resource. For example, if patients expect caregivers to wash their hands each time they walk into the exam room, you can improve compliance with your organization’s hand hygiene policies.
  • Encourage patients and families to talk to the patient safety coordinator about safety concerns (see Coordination for more).
Show team members ways to keep safety on the agenda
  • Everyone in the organization can be encouraged to bring attention to so-called ‘near misses’ or ‘close calls,’ adverse events, or ideas for improving patient and colleague safety. Consider organizing a daily or weekly safety huddle where concerns and recent events can be discussed.
  • When considering new systems and other changes in the way your organization operates, include all staff in a brainstorming session about how the safety of care might be affected or improved. For example, can a new system for checking patients out after an appointment make it easier for both patients and staff to know exactly what follow-up steps are needed?