Introduction

Hi! My name is Jessica Semin. I am very excited to meet you all! Being asked to attend is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! I am very eager to be able to learn from experts and peers who also have a strong desire to make our healthcare infrastructure safer for all. Attending the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety is important to me because I look forward to learning actionable steps I can take to enhance health profession education. I want future students to see safety policies and protocols as safety nets rather than hoops to jump through or go around. I would love to see students feel more empowered to speak up when they see something that goes against what they are learning as best practice in class. I want to be better equipped to convince my peers that it should cause concern when practice does not meet policy. We should be reexamining and asking questions, such as “Why not? and What needs to change?”. When I mention patient safety to many of my peers and students, they usually tell me things like make sure you implement fall precautions and double-check the 6 rights of medication administration. These are important steps in keeping patients safe, but just barely scratch the surface of all that encompasses the term patient safety. The reading materials have reminded me that patient safety is never just a checklist. For a healthcare organization to truly commit to being a leader in patient safety it takes a culture shift. All members of the interdisciplinary team need to feel empowered to speak up without fear when they notice a concern. Procedures need to be in place to properly address the concerns. Patients and families need to feel that they are at the center of the team rather than on the sidelines watching decisions being made without their input. There is still room for lots of creativity in healthcare, but we need standardization to talk the same language to each other and be able to practice this before being thrown into the chaos. Healthcare professionals need to have the tools and resources to take care of themselves to be at their best to make safe patient decisions.

Patient safety is integral to good patient care because when patient safety is not upheld no one wins. Patients and their loved ones suffer greatly. Patients may encounter death or severe life-altering impairments that change the trajectory of their lives. Families grieve and mourn with the thought that their loved one could still be here to celebrate milestones and live life to the fullest if only the dreaded chain of events did not occur. For many, it haunts them for years and changes their life trajectories in negative ways, and for some leads to negative coping mechanisms that send them spiraling into a world of chaos. The healthcare team greatly suffers often without an outlet to express their grief and complicated emotions related to the situation. The way one processes these emotions can vary. Some bury it and use unhealthy outlets to cope. Over time, others start to see patients as cases rather than as people and numb their emotions when a tragedy occurs. Others bottle up all of the emotions and unleash them once there is a tipping point. I believe we as a society need to see that our healthcare professionals also need support and resources to best do their jobs. Even the healthcare payers are negatively impacted by patient safety errors as they pay more for the extra care that resulted from the errors. The healthcare organizations suffer as no healthcare institution can say they are fulfilling their mission and working towards their vision when there are numerous patient safety issues. We must come together as healthcare professionals, patients, families, corporations, healthcare organizations, and others to commit to working together to inch closer to the quadruple aim, which is not possible if patient safety is not at the forefront of our decisions. We each have a part to play!

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