• Stephen Harden

Patient Safety Leadership Doesn't Need More Time, They Just Need to Decide

Updated: Jun 7, 2018



Typically, it takes about six to nine months for a hospital to decide if it wants to do training to improve the communications between its physicians and nurses. Nine months from the time the executive team and Board of Trustees has decided that it can not allow any more sentinel events in its hospital.


One hospital I worked with had a series of several serious wrong surgeries. After the third one, and in desperation they called me, asking for an immediate call back. They knew their culture was broken. They knew their checklists weren't being used correctly, if at all.


It took over 24 months for them to decide to take the steps to fix it.


You don't need more time, you just need to decide.

Read the history of the original Mac and you'll be amazed at just how fast it got done. Willie Nelson wrote three hit songs in one day. To save the first brand Seth Godin was responsible for, he redesigned five products in less than a day. Seth says It takes a team of six people at Lays potato chips a year to do one product redesign.


The urgent dynamic in patient safety is to ask for signoffs from your executive team and to push forward, relentlessly.


Keep telling your leaders, "I can make this happen. I've got it."


Seth Godin, one of the best project innovators out there says you can feel this relentless move forward happening when you're around it.


"It's a special sort of teamwork, a confident desperation... not the desperation of hopelessness, but the desperate effort that comes from being hopeful."

Your patients are hopeful that you are relentlessly improving how you provide care.


Are you?


What's happening in your unit?


Willie Nelson wrote three hit songs in one day. What patient safety process are you improving today? You don't need more time, you just need to decide. Get moving.

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