Website spotlight: Nurses too scared to speak up

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, April 22, 2011

How many quality improvement projects are going on in your organization right now? How many committees are devoted to improving safety? If you're like most facilities, there are probably dozens. Across the country, countless hours are devoted to preventing errors that harm patients through creating checklists, protocols, automated systems, and the like.

Are they worthless?

That's what I started wondering when I came across a new study that examines why poor communication is still the biggest patient safety danger of all.

The report is a combined effort from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) in partnership with VitalSmarts, a training and organizational performance company. AACN and VitalSmarts produced the seminal "Silence Kills" data five years ago that found:

  • 84% of physicians have seen coworkers taking shortcuts that could be dangerous to patients
  • 88% of physicians say they work with people who show poor clinical judgment
  • Fewer than 10% of physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff directly confront their colleagues about their concerns

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