Press release: Hospital staff to mark patient safety day with drive to improve kindness

World Patient Safety 2019

Staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are set to mark World Patient Safety Day (Tuesday, 17 September) by launching a drive to improve kindness and appreciation for each other.

The awareness day, led globally by the World Health Organization, will see the rollout of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s 'reminder to be kinder' initiative designed to recognise the role of civility on patient safety.

The project will see the introduction of a range of action cards which include reminders to celebrate colleagues’ achievements, thank someone for their work and do something to make life easier for a colleague.

The cards will also carry messages urging staff to start friendly conversations with people they don’t know, check on their colleagues and listen to how they are feeling and take time to talk to patients about their hobbies and interests.

“The way we interact with each other can have a surprising effect on patient safety,” said Juliet Pearce, deputy director of nursing at UHS.

“People who witness rudeness show reduced performance and are 50% less likely to help others.

“If a patient was to see this happen, you could understand why they would feel anxious dealing with staff and have less trust in the organisation.”

She said there was increasing evidence of the impact of rudeness on clinical performance, with the actions of one individual potentially impacting on the ability of a whole team to care for their patients.

“In one study we reviewed, teams working on a simulated emergency scenario were exposed to either rude comments or neutral comments during the emergency scenario,” she explained.

“The team that faced rudeness saw a 12% drop in diagnostic and procedural performance. Put simply, when someone in a team is uncivil, that team is negatively affected and so is their patient.”

The UHS patient safety team will invite staff to visit them on the day at the main entrance from 10am until 2pm to share something or someone they are thankful for.

In addition, the Wessex Academic Health Sciences Network will award a prize to one UHS team for their part in patient safety work happening across the region and the city’s O2 Guildhall will be lit in the patient safety colour of orange in the evening in recognition of the event.

Dr Ahmed Osman, a consultant in the paediatric intensive care unit at Southampton Children’s Hospital and patient safety education lead at UHS, added: “Rudeness is an unfortunately common experience in healthcare and has nothing but negative effects on recipients, onlookers and patients.

“Kindness, on the other hand, is an unequivocally positive experience, so trying to be a little kinder will create a happier workplace for staff and a safer environment for patients.”
Posted on Monday 16 September 2019