The provision of quality healthcare services is one of the primary goals of nursing practice. The establishment of a healthcare environment that upholds the essence of patient safety is crucial to fostering the realization of the nursing goal. Patient safety culture in the healthcare environment acknowledges the high-risk characteristic of the organization’s processes and its commitment to attaining safe and consistent operations. Hence, it is crucial to reflect on lessons drawn from Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (2018) article that offers detailed information regarding this subject.
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Patients and Healthcare Staff as Vulnerable People
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2018), adopting a patient safety culture is critical to protecting both patients and healthcare workers from harm. This article reveals the extent to which various operations within a healthcare environment can expose both patients and healthcare workers to musculoskeletal injuries. For example, I have learned that activities that require healthcare workers to manually lift patients from one position to another are risky because they may result in accidents that lead to the development of musculoskeletal damages.
In addition, overexertion or repetitive stress associated with an organization’s operations may also subject healthcare workers to musculoskeletal disorders, which undermine their productivity in healthcare settings. I have learned that healthcare providers should create a patient safety culture by acknowledging risks linked to various activities within their workplace environment.
Patient Safety Culture Reduces Workplace Conflicts
A culture of patient safety also focuses on the cultivation of a blame-free healthcare environment by encouraging professionals to report near misses or errors without the fear of being reprimanded. Medical errors account for the demise of tens of thousands of patients in the United States’ population annually (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2018). As such, the need for improving patient safety is a matter of priority due to the detrimental effects of medical errors. According to Kaplan, Orris, and Machi (2009), the need for redesigning systems of care is one of the key strategies towards mitigating medical errors as a way of saving at least 100,000 lives annually.
As such, the redesigning process needs to encourage healthcare workers to report instances of near misses or medical errors that may jeopardize patients’ well-being. For example, oversight errors usually occur in the area of nursing practice whereby clinicians schedule medication dosages incorrectly. Such omissions should be reported in time to prevent the adversity of medication errors, thus safeguarding patients from harm. Therefore, the creation of a supportive clinical environment that upholds the reporting of medical errors without the fear of punishment can go a long way in fostering the creation of a patient safety culture in contemporary healthcare environments.
The Need for Collaboration
Moreover, the adoption of a collaborative approach across ranks and disciplines in the healthcare setting augments the goal of a patient safety culture. In particular, Riehle, Braun, and Hafiz (2013) identify the creation of synergies in all initiatives directed toward the enhancement of both patient safety and healthcare workers’ welfare as one of the important approaches that foster the development of a safety culture in a healthcare setting.
For example, the circulation of a memorandum regarding the subject of patient safety culture in my workplace saw all departments gain a better understanding of the importance of a secure organizational environment. The communication played a considerable part not only in reducing the case of patient harm caused by an unsafe environment but also in lessening healthcare workers’ cases of work-related injuries and illnesses.
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Various units or departments in the healthcare organization need to work closely when identifying factors that undermine patients’ well-being before specifying the appropriate interventions that can promote safety in the healthcare environment. Such collaboration eliminates conflicts and, consequently, quality service delivery. Patients are assured of getting prompt medical attention. Therefore, the participation of the entire workers in the healthcare environment in improving the safety standards enhances the culture of safety.
Kaplan, S., Orris, J. P., & Machi, R. (2009). A research agenda for advancing patient, worker and environmental health and safety in the health care sector. Web.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2018). Organizational safety culture – Linking patient and worker safety. Web.
Riehle, A., Braun, B. I., & Hafiz, H. (2013). Improving patient and worker safety: Exploring opportunities for synergy. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 28(2), 99-102.