St. Michael’s creates instant network of patient-safety champions

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By Emily Holton

Twenty-nine St. Michael’s clinical educators and staff have become certified patient safety trainers – and it happened all at once. Think of it as a “train the trainer” strategy, mass-wedding style.

Instead of the usual practice of sending one or two dedicated staff to a Patient Safety Education Program Canada event to get certified, St. Michael’s is the first hospital in Canada to bring the training in-house. Staff with education roles across the organization set aside time so that they could take part.

“This is how we’re walking the talk,” said Dr. Chris Hayes, medical director, Quality and Performance. “If our priority is to foster a strong safety culture and embed safety at the forefront of everything we do, we need to make sure our educators have the best possible training in patient safety sciences.”

The course teaches the latest in patient safety strategies as well as best practices for teaching and translating these strategies to front-line staff. The hope is to create a tipping point that inspires and drives a culture of high-quality – and highly safe – care at every level of the hospital.

Two full days of training is a significant time commitment for any busy health-care professional, let alone 29 professionals at the same time. But hosting the course in-house allowed St. Michael’s to tailor the curriculum to reflect its own quality framework, interprofessional approach and strategic priorities.

Every participant left the training with a concrete implementation plan for integrating safety science into his or her current and future education strategies.

“St. Michael’s is taking patient safety to the next level and we’re investing more in it as the science improves,” said Dr. Hayes. “Rather than creating a new program to implement, we’re empowering our clinical educators to embed safety education into what they already do so well.”

Emily Holton is a senior communications adviser at St. Michael’s Hospital.

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