Both he and I share some frustrations about the challenges of being change agents in our current health care system. He is crusading for effective handwashing, I am doing the same for respectful communication. I think he would agree that we see solutions to major problems and work relentlessly to impact them.
I think about his comment and potential consumer roles in patient safety a lot. It is like seeing a fire and knowing where the water is! Of course, unless we can get the water TO the fire it won’t be helpful.
It is interesting to me that very often people will share their healthcare ‘horror stories’ with me. I listen and try to validate their concerns and understand their attempts to control future experiences. Some are adamant that they will never go to that doctor or that hospital or that nursing home ever again!
Meanwhile, in my head I’m thinking, that may or may not solve the problem and further more, I feel a little defensive. I know that many healthcare professionals have bad days. Myself included! But, I don’t usually say this. Maybe I don’t want to interfere with their need to have some control over their health or appear to be defending bad experiences. It’s just that I understand what can happen.
Often, when speaking with healthcare professionals, I like to make the point that we don’t amputate the wrong leg because we don’t know left from right! That’s what it might look like, but it is way more complicated.
I believe that we are seeing increases in informed patients, but usually they are informed about their particular health care issues and not so much about what might be going on beneath the surface of the team or organization. This 12 minute youtube called: “Interruption Awareness: A Nursing Minute for Patient Safety” will go a long way towards helping consumers understand, really understand some of the stress we are under and how easy it can be to blame an individual when the real problems lie with the system.
- It is the truth.
- More pressure to communicate respectfully, staff appropriately and be more careful.
- Additional help for problem-solving.
- May lead to more resources.
- Break down of walls that keep patients and HCPs from being on the same team.
- Better outcomes.
- We would have to become more accountabile
- Opportunities for increased accountability for patients and families.
- Save $ in the long run.
Ultimately, I vote for being truthful and support efforts by patient advocates and healthcare professionals to make our systems more transparent. My hope is that all stakeholders will take time to truly understand how complicated our systems are and seek to collaborate even when blaming may be a first reaction!
What do other nurses think? Patient advocates? Colleagues?