All ASCs strive for top-notch quality and safety. But what if your employees don’t have the perception that you are trying to improve safety? Increasing safety culture starts by acknowledging the barriers and challenges.
Lack of resources
The first tenet of any management book is that employees need the right resources to be able to succeed. When it comes to safety, do your staff have all the skills and knowledge they need to adhere to all safety protocols? Do you have employees who need more training or some refreshers? Especially as we come back from COVID-19, consider where training or continuing education may have lapsed for some staff members, and provide the appropriate opportunities for refreshers.
But what if my ASC doesn't have time to improve safety?
It's common to lack time as a resource in ASCs. Efficiently filling up the OR is crucial to the success of any facility. But do your employees feel pressured to work too quickly? Is a lack of time and pressure to do more adding up to unnecessary errors? Evaluate where you can improve efficiencies—such as spending less time filing paperwork or completing phone calls—so that your staff have more time to focus on the critical aspects of their work.
Instead of just sending your employees to safety seminars, make sure all leaders are engaging in this education, as well. By modeling ideal safety behaviors, you inspire your employees to do the same. When leadership shows a commitment to improving safety measures, employees are more likely to be forthright about reporting any mistakes or opportunities for improvement. If leadership is accessible, you are also more likely to hear about specific areas where employees lack the necessary resources.
Gaps in the feedback loop
Receiving feedback is critical for safety culture. Do you have an organized, robust system in place for recording feedback related to safety? There must also be clear reporting systems in place that employees can easily access. Otherwise, you won’t receive many reports.
The other common error when implementing safety culture is to not follow up on feedback. But if you don’t follow up, the result is even more disgruntled employees, who feel that leadership doesn’t genuinely care about improvement. Hearing about mistakes is a clear opportunity for process improvement. Besides investigating and addressing the error, it’s also important to encourage employees who submit feedback. Are you recognizing staff for helpful suggestions? When employees are rewarded for participating in the feedback loop, you are more likely to receive honest, helpful reports that will aid in building a better culture of safety.
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