The NMC Code and the RCN Principles of Nursing Practice promote patient safety. The RCN advocates ways to reduce preventable harm in health care.
We are focusing our efforts in three key areas:
We see attitudes and behaviours that discourage staff from learning from preventable incidents. This makes it more likely that the incident will happen again. Organisations can foster a proactive approach to patient safety.
We can make healthcare more reliable. We can do this by agreeing to ways of working and a commiting to applying that knowledge. Reliability changes our view of the world. It raises the importance of vigilance and sensitises us to the patient perspective.
Human factors are those things that affect an individual’s performance. A human factors approach is key to safer healthcare. It will become part of the core curricula of all health professionals. Training needs to be co-ordinated along interprofessional lines.
A human factors approach to patient safety starts with an understanding of the things that support or hinder the way people work.
We need better system design. The system includes the equipment, devices, medication and information systems used. It is the jobs people do and the physical environment.
Changes to the design of physical things can make a big difference to how well people work. The interfaces of devices, control panels packaging, lighting levels can all make a difference.
But it is also the way teams work together and the culture that influences how they act.
Find out more about patient safety and human factors interventions: communication; leadership; safety culture; stress and fatigue; teamwork and work environment.