Communication protocols exist for a reason

An excerpt from The Mumbo Jumbo Repair: A Survival Information to Efficient Physician-Affected person-Nurse Communication.

Workforce constructing is a well-liked pattern in healthcare. It promotes cooperation, belief and respect, improves communication and improves affected person outcomes. More often than not.

However the camaraderie and familiarity of working with the identical group of individuals can carry an unappreciated danger to affected person security: a breakdown of standardized communication protocols based mostly on undue belief in others. Working day by day with the identical group of highly-skilled colleagues impresses us and lulls us into letting our guard down and skipping steps in outlined processes. On the planet of danger evaluation and mitigation, this phenomenon is called a human danger issue.

Standardized healthcare procedures had been impressed by the disciplined subject of aeronautics. Cabin Protocols are step-specific behaviors written in guidelines type and audibly confirmed by one other group member. Regardless of what number of flight hours a pilot and co-pilot have collected collectively, each time they put together to take off or land, they methodically carry out the required drill. With out exception. Who amongst us would really feel secure flying on an airplane if we had been advised that the cabin selected to skip the guidelines that day?

Common “time-out” protocols in working rooms are instance of the usage of required guidelines behaviors. No surgical procedure ought to start with out first taking the time to substantiate out loud within the presence of all the working room group the id of the affected person, the character of the surgical procedure, and the precise surgical website. And it really works virtually each time, until the OR is delayed and the surgeon tries to skip the “timeout.” It takes a powerful and assured nurse to talk up and problem a surgeon pressed for time. In any case, the surgeon is probably going very skilled and the proper affected person and process was in all probability already confirmed within the preoperative space by one other nurse, until he too was pressed for time.

Preoperative sponge counts by two nurses (or a nurse and a scrub technician) are required to make sure an accurate preliminary depend earlier than surgical procedure begins. Throughout surgical procedure, every sponge introduced into the operative subject is recorded on a scoreboard and a depend of sponges used is reconciled on the finish of the process earlier than closing the affected person. In fact, the entire course of falls aside if the preliminary depend was inaccurate. The primary skilled nurse had carried out the drill tons of of occasions with none errors, so there was in all probability minimal danger when the second required individual slipped to carry out another essential pre-surgical job. Nobody has ever miscounted, proper?

The administration of doubtless hazardous medicine requires the presence of two well being care suppliers for a snack to substantiate that the proper affected person is receiving the prescribed drug on the correct dosage. Often, busy distributors who belief one another to get the job achieved proper miss the snack. What may go unsuitable if a new child child within the neonatal ICU receives an grownup dose or one other child’s robust drug?

As a danger supervisor who has investigated a number of examples of every of those situations, the frequent thread was {that a} skilled group member trusted a well-known and skilled colleague to get the job achieved proper. Normally as a result of the group member felt time pressured to carry out different duties. Within the rush of the second, the communication protocol was rationalized as pointless and “in all probability secure this time.” What the sector of danger evaluation and mitigation reminds us is that communication protocols exist for a cause. We’re all human; all human beings make errors.

Michael J. Grace is an lawyer and writer of The Mumbo Jumbo Repair: A Survival Information to Efficient Physician-Affected person-Nurse Communication.


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