Patients deserve safe care.
This is the central and simple message at the heart of Patient Safety Awareness Week. Initiatives about patient safety exist in hospitals. Organizations that emphasize and mandate patient safety efforts make educational programs available. And still, errors and tragedies occur each day. Lives are lost, families are devastated, and overwhelming costs are accrued as a result of medical errors.
Healthcare provider education in a safe, controlled simulation environment has been cited as a leading approach in improving patient outcomes, which ultimately impacts patient safety. In the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health Care System, simulation education is recommended as one strategy that can be used to prevent errors in the clinical setting. Since the publication of this report, numerous publications, programs, forums, committees and national experts have supported this philosophy.
Safe care starts in the classroom. However, we need to be aware that while the use of simulation is, overall, imperative to patient safety, educational scenarios need their own set of safety rules.
5 Strategies for Simulation Safety
1. Clearly label all equipment, supplies, and simulated medications with information that such equipment, supplies, and simulated medications are for educational use only, and not for human or animal use, or for diagnostic use.
2. Programs should be sure to inform participants, including students and standardized patients, about potential hazards that result from simulation exercises. Every care should be taken to ensure these hazards are minimized.
3. Programs that use simulation need to periodically review simulated-related products, solutions, facilities, and scenarios to ensure safety. Any potential threats need to be immediately mitigated.
4. Teachers, staff, and faculty need to be vetted to ensure they do not mistakenly convey incorrect information, do not treat controversial subjects as certain fact, or neglect to address incorrect actions in debriefing sessions.
5. Teachers, staff, and faculty need to adhere to simulation scenarios that are rigorously realistic. The use of “short cuts” in simulation (not wearing gloves, not engaging needle guards properly) can give students a false sense of safety that will adversely affect real patients.
Pocket Nurse® endorses patient safety and offers a broad portfolio of educational tools and products that can enhance your simulation curricula for safe care. Call us to speak with an expert to assist you in meeting your program’s educational needs. Patient safety must be a top priority. Pocket Nurse is committed to providing customers the tools, equipment, and solutions necessary for continuous patient safety advancements in the classroom and simulation lab that translate to the bedside.
For more information on Patient Safety forums and programs visit:
National Patient Safety Foundation
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Foundation for Healthcare Simulation and Safety