Saturday, June 5, 2010

Patient Safety Call Out

The Duke Hospital Helicopter Pilots have an important and sometimes dangerous job. They fly off of roof tops to go help very sick people in other facilities needing immediate and fast transportation to a major medical center. Sometimes they fly out to get life saving organs for soon-to-be transplant recipients. After a major accident, they may fly out to help the victims.

In addition to the inherent nature of their job as first responders and skilled healthcare professionals, there is an added layer in the expertise they must possess to be a helicopter pilot. During times of inclimate weather or other pilot safety threats, they have to make tough decisions. Given the importance of their job, it may be difficult to consider aborting a fly out. However, safety must be honored.

The Duke Helicopter Pilots have agreed upon a simple and concise phrase if they feel it may be too dangerous to proceed with a flight:

“This is stupid!”

Pretty clear, huh? That stops the line for sure!

Some nurses follow this model with another phrase:

“I need clarity.”

At some hospitals patients are given tools, like yellow cards, to signal they perceive a safety issue without having to say anything.

In my time teaching workshops, participants have offered their own patient safety call out. A few examples of those include:


“I don’t like this.”


So, now it’s your turn. What will your patient safety call out be?

1 comment: