Open Lines of Communication Might Be Lifelines

04-26-2011
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Fifty-eight percent of nurses say that they have been in situations in which it was “either unsafe to speak up or they were unable to get others to listen” about potential risks posed to patients, according to a new report from two nurses associations and the training and consulting firm VitalSmarts. In a separate, but related study, 84 percent of nurses said they had worked with people who took dangerous shortcuts—like not washing their hands for long enough—and 26 percent said the shortcuts had harmed patients. 

The studies underline the fact that open communication, while always beneficial, is downright necessary at healthcare facilities, where the free exchange of information among medical professionals is vital in preventing errors and protecting patients. As David Maxfield, an author of the study, told The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog, healthcare facilities need to be workplaces “in which anyone can speak up to anyone about their concerns, and everyone holds everyone else accountable for safe practices.” 

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