Prioritizing safety: A look at the Michigan Medicine Safety Promise

January 20, 2023  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership, ,

Approximately a 4-minute read

Key takeaways:

  • This month, Headlines is highlighting the Michigan Medicine Safety Promise. The promise means that the safety of patients, families and employees is priority one.
  • No matter your role in the organization, we all play a part in contributing to a safe environment and honoring our promise.
  • Recent feedback polls show that tolerating disrespectful behavior is one of our biggest opportunities for growth as an organization. Everyone can help change this by listening with empathy, communicating your good intentions with kindness, and encouraging questions.

Through our High Reliability training, we have adopted skills and tools to help individuals and teams reduce errors and ensure our systems are as safe as possible. We have begun to use them routinely in our everyday work, and this ongoing dedication to our HRO journey is what makes Michigan Medicine a better place to work and receive care.

Our promise

It’s important to remember the reason why we utilize our HRO skills and tools: as a commitment to safety.

To start 2023, Headlines is promoting the Michigan Medicine Safety Promise. We promise patients, families and employees that safety – theirs and ours – is priority one.

Want to print out the full safety promise and hang it in your workspace or common area? Click here for the downloadable handout.

Working together for safety

No matter your role in the organization, we all play a part in contributing to a safe environment and honoring our promise. Below are two stories that highlight safety as our most important priority:

“When a patient arrived at Mott CT (Computerized Topography), it was realized that they needed to have a tube placed to assist with breathing. With a call to the Operating Room desk, a nursing team was swiftly assembled. The otolaryngology attending made themselves available for the consult. The assembled team communicated a clear plan and backup; making sure everyone knew their role and how the family was to be notified, resulting in a successful procedure.”

When teams collaborate using high reliability practices, they prove that there is safety in numbers! Working in “Better Together” teamwork, the environment is safer and more reliable with fewer opportunities for unintended error.

“A Patient Food & Nutrition Services (PFANS) team member urgently found a unit nurse to tell them that she heard multiple oxygen tanks running at the same time behind closed doors. Taking this concern seriously, the nurse investigated and found 6-8 oxygen tanks all running at maximum levels. The nurse promptly turned them all off avoiding any type of safety event.”

Something as simple as hearing a strange noise could have easily been dismissed. But embracing that safety is everyone’s job, our PFANS and nursing colleagues mitigated the unsafe conditions to prevent harm and completed a safety report to ensure appropriate follow-up occurred.

Creating a culture of respect

Recent feedback polls show that tolerating disrespectful behavior is one of our biggest opportunities for growth as an organization. Allowing disrespectful behavior to persist erodes trust and psychological safety in teams, causing people to feel less confident in voicing concerns, sharing ideas or discussing errors. 

What if at the end of 2023 our feedback polls show a more respectful Michigan Medicine? What can we do to make this a reality? How can we strengthen our resolve to live out our safety promise, especially the tenet “we do not tolerate disrespectful behavior?”

Everyone can make a difference by renewing their personal commitment in practical ways. Model and reinforce respectful behavior in your area by listening with empathy, communicating your good intentions with kindness and encouraging questions. These useful tips and more will be shared in February when we highlight our HRO Relationship Skills.

Remember – if disrespectful behavior persists or is prevalent in your local unit or area, please share your concerns with your leadership team. It takes ALL of us working together to keep our safety promise and create a mature culture of safety!

Be on the lookout for more HRO Headlines articles throughout 2023. Visit the HRO website for more resources.

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