Survivor: The Tribe Has Spoken

Today we attended our first session at the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety. Having just completed a course on quality and safety, I wondered how much new material I would actually learn. While much of the material was the same, having an interprofessional group of peers with shared interests in patient safety changed the conversation and way I saw the material.

I realized throughout the session how unique each of my peers backgrounds are and how that can influence and shape their approach to problems or how they think about something. Being the only administrative student is interesting because I not only get to learn how doctors and nurses are trained, and think about their work, but how they interact with each other and how they view administration’s role in the hospital.

Each “tribe” has their own biases about the other “tribes” in the hospital including the patient and their family. One topic that was discussed today was “premature closure” and how clinicians can look at only one piece of the puzzle, and make a conclusion based on that. I connected this to my role as an administrator later in the day when one of my nursing peers was talking about how the errors in Lewis Blackman’s case can occur. My peer said often times policies are passed down from administration without them knowing anything about the clinical process or what occurs on the floor. This is my “tribe’s” premature closure.

I am fortunate coming from Seattle and working at Virginia Mason to have been exposed to these ideas long ago, and they have driven me to where I am today.¬†However in my current education, I am learning in a silo and have no clue what medical students, nursing students, pharmacy student and so on go through in their education and training. Being here today I had the realization that we must all work together as a team to accomplish an environment that supports patient safety. While each tribe has biases of the other, we must work together to break down barriers to better understand each other’s work. We have the luxury here at Telluride of already having a mutual purpose established. Going forward in my career, I understand the importance in establishing that mutual purpose with my stakeholders and engaging the staff. Sometime that means finding a champion to help get the message out. My role is going to be establishing that mutual purpose for all the tribes to create one unified tribe of healthcare workers that with speak up for patient safety.

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