What would you do?
Practice makes perfect, and our LifeWings program is a prime example of this sentiment.
“Our board of trustees chose LifeWings to enhance our communication and teamwork. It uses crew resource management procedures to provide the tools necessary to speak up when a potential safety concern occurs,” explained Cyndi Blatz, RN, Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center patient safety coordinator.
She explained that tools such as checklists and procedures create standardized procedures for everyone to follow to ensure all team members have a “shared mental model” to reference. All employees, physicians and contract providers are required to attend the teamwork skills workshop and use the tools developed and approved by the LifeWings steering committee.
“LifeWings is such an invaluable program and an important part of your communication toolbox,” said Blatz. “There’s a reason we dedicate ample time and resources to this. LifeWings helps save lives. It reduces patient harm, inefficiency and waste.”
When you see a situation that needs to be addressed, it’s important to speak up in a clear, concise manner. Remember to follow this LifeWings format when delivering assertive statements:
- Get attention
- Call the person by name.
- Express concern
- Use an "I" statement.
- ("I need clarity;" "I am concerned.")
- State the problem
- Be brief, clear objective.
- State in 10 seconds or less.
- Don't "hint and hope."
- Propose a solution
- "We or let's reinforces team mentality.
- Don't ask yes/no questions.
- If you do't know the solution, restate the problem using team words.
To help keep your LifeWings practice top of mind, Blatz provided three scenarios to consider. Choose one, or choose them all, and draft an assertive statement in reply to the scenario using your LifeWings skills.
One of your direct reports, Odom Siferous (he goes by “O”), has a personal hygiene issue that several team members have complained about (too much cologne). Two of the team members have near allergic reactions to the overpowering scent and it is affecting the team’s work performance.
Draft an assertive statement to “O.”
The physician is leading a thorough time out with a pre-procedure briefing. About halfway through, the phone in the room rings, and the RN, Miss Dee Stracted, walks over and answers the phone.
Draft an assertive statement from any team member to Nurse Dee Stracted.
The nurse, Kahn Fuzed, noticed there was an extra bag hanging on the IV pole that wasn’t needed, and shouldn’t be administered by IV. But Kahn knows the other staff member, Benear Longtime, is one of the most experienced nurses in the department and is unsure if he should speak up and say something.
Draft an assertive statement from Kahn to Benear Longtime.
“Practice your assertive statement often,” Blatz encouraged. “In doing so, it becomes easier to effectively speak up in a concise manner, resulting in a safer environment for the patient and our team.”
Additional scenarios to consider and address will be published periodically through Huddles and/or Engage. Blatz encourages everyone to alert her to real-world issues that could be potential safety concerns.
“Send them to me via email (CBlatz@culpeperhospital.com), phone call (extension 4408) or stop by the office,” she said. “I would love to share your ideas with others. Thank you for all you do to keep our patients safe!”