Why safety is important & how we can help as Locums

 

The Mid Staffordshire case highlighted to us all what can happen if people do not speak up. Patients are one of the main reasons we all do our jobs in healthcare. Their safety is in our hands daily. This should always be remembered and at the forefront of our minds.

 

SOPs

SOP’s are in place to help ensure that the standard of our work is consistent and look out for the safety of our patients. As a locum who is constantly changing environments, I know how challenging it can be to ensure that you make the time to read and understand these, however it is of vital importance to do so, to ensure that we do the best job possible.

 

Improving processes

We should also always seek to help the permanent employees around us to improve their processes too. Having worked in multiple locations and with many different systems and styles of working, we are in one of the best positions to see what works well and what does not.

We have the opportunity to speak out to improve the service that we are a part of. All too often I have witnessed locum’s stating that it is not their job or that they feel powerless to do so. I find this both frustrating and sad, as we are professionals who should seek to work to the best of our abilities daily.

 

Overcoming the issues

The best way I have found to be able to give effective feedback is to build relationships with the staff and managers around you. It is sometimes not easy to feel you can improve a situation or feel you don’t want to get involved. However, most managers want to do a good job and will actually be pleased to hear of new ways to help their team and improve their service.

 

Inaction

An example of when feedback is not only required but vital is where you can see a process can be altered in-order to increase both efficiency and safety. I was once working in a particularly challenged hospital as an MMT. There MMT process was both lengthy and challenging to carry out.

The process was likely to lead to errors occurring and as a result some staff would cut corners in-order to get the job completed. I had plenty of experience as an MMT at other hospitals and spoke to the MMT manager regarding the issue.

I was able to put her in contact with the MMT manager in another hospital to help instigate a change in their process. It was challenging and difficult to take the issue to her as I was aware she may ignore my suggestion but I felt if I did not share my experience and knowledge I was ignoring an issue that was failing both patient care and causing staff added pressure and stress.

 

Procedures in place to allow feedback

There are always procedures in place for feedback to be given; however even if you are not comfortable with using these remember that there is always a way to give feedback, even if this is done anonymously.

Lucinda

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