When I was in medical school, my best friend once said to me: “No matter how hard you try to avoid it, or how badly you want to help people, you will inevitably make a mistake that causes a patient significant harm during your career as a physician.” Right before this, we were hearing stories first-hand from patients and physicians who had experienced a tragic safety events and how it had impacted their lives. Although this was a very difficult thing to hear in a room full of well-intentioned individuals, who have spent their lives focused on treating others, my friend could not have been more accurate. I now have realized that this was the day I started to have a passion for quality improvement and patient safety.
As residents, we are on the front-lines of patient care and are often the first to notice the effects of a near miss or safety event. And with the growing complexity of medicine as a field, there is an increasing number of areas where errors can occur.
Attending the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety is important to me because I strive to help establish an environment that empowers my colleagues to report, learn, and create change from these incidents in a non-punitive, open, and honest manner to allow for a safer healthcare environment. For this reason, I have been involved in the creation of a Quality Improvement group in the Internal Medicine residency, where our main goal is to re-structure M&Ms and try to take projects forward to create lasting change in our delivery of health care on an institutional level. I am eager to engage with residents, fellows, and other patient safety leaders to hear their perspectives and ideas on how to build upon this culture of safety and improvement.