Solutions for the Health Industry

June marked the celebration of , and it got me thinking. While we admittedly tend to focus on patient safety in our industry and devote a week each March to promote its importance, we're remiss if we overlook the link between general safety in the workplace and patient safety.

The theme for this year's National Safety Month, "What Do You Live for?" puts it all in perspective. We all have something we live to see or experience; by engaging in safe behaviors, we can help ensure we live for what matters to us.

The link between employee and patient safety is an issue that the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) has been calling attention to since 2013. NPSF's Lucian Leape Institute Report, "," (PDF, 999 KB) suggests that the most fundamental precondition to patient safety is workforce safety. Your workforce needs to know that their safety is an enduring and non-negotiable priority for the governing board, CEO and organization as a whole.  Understanding that their well-being is a priority enables your workforce to be meaningfully engaged in their work and more satisfied. They'll also be less likely to experience burnout and, conversely, more likely to deliver more effective and safer care.

NPSF's seven strategies to amplify workforce and patient safety:

1 | 


Develop and embody shared core values of mutual respect and civility, transparency and truth telling, safety of all workers and patients, and alignment and accountability from the boardroom through the front lines

2 | 


Adopt the explicit aim to eliminate harm to the workforce and to patients

3 | 


Commit to creating a high-reliability organization (HRO) and demonstrate the discipline to achieve highly reliable performance.

4 | 


Create a learning and improvement system and adopt evidence-based management skills for reliability

5 | 


Establish data capture, database and performance metrics for accountability and improvement

6 | 


Recognize and celebrate the work and accomplishments of the workforce regularly and with high visibility

7 | 


Support industry-wide research to design and conduct studies that will explore issues and conditions in health care that are harming our workforce and our patients

In my travels this year with the Prize® site visit team, I was encouraged to see some leading healthcare organizations are beginning to encourage employees to report employee safety concerns, hazards and near misses in the same way that they report those related to patient safety. As more organizations recognize and link the two areas, we should see improved outcomes in both patient and employee safety and greater joy and meaning in our work and what we live for.

To learn how to put these employee and patient safety strategies into action in your workplace,  (PDF, 999 KB) and check out the .

This blog post originally published on the blog in June 2015.

Mary Beth Navarra-Sirio

About the author

Mary Beth Navarra-Sirio, RN, MBA, is vice president Regulatory Strategy, and patient safety officer for Web2pro. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies that improve patient safety within the Web2pro product lines, lectures nationally on patient safety and nursing leadership, and has provided testimony to the FDA and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Mary Beth is chair of Web2pro’s Patient Safety workgroup, is a member of the EHRA Patient Safety Committee, and is vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the National Patient Safety Foundation.

Be the first to Comment

Start the Conversation

Post a comment:

Please enter a name.

Please enter your comment.

Post Approval in Progress:

System failed to receive comment.

We reserve the right to remove any comments from the site that we feel put the safety or utility of our community at risk. View the . To find out more about our privacy practices, please see the .

  • Web2pro Resources