How We Practice Safety at EvergreenHealth

Whether our employees give direct patient care or serve our patients in other ways, everyone plays a vital role in ensuring Absolute Safety at EvergreenHealth. 

We asked employees to provide examples of how they practice patient safety in their day-to-day jobs:

“I am always aware of my surroundings when at work. When I see something wet on the floor, I clean it up immediately. If there is trash on the ground, I pick it up. If something is not working right, I know who I need to contact in order to report any maintenance needs.”

“Our Heart & Vascular administrative employees make sure they use two patient identifiers, starting with the patient’s date of birth, to ensure they are scheduling the correct person, billing the right account and adding documents to the correct patient’s chart.”

“Patient safety isn’t just about personal physical safety, but also the safety of their identity, their account and their medical records.”

“I consistently use a gait belt when doing gait training with patients who are at risk of falling, and I teach their families and caregivers to uses gait belts too.”

“One of the ways that I practice patient safety is to help patients navigate doors/doorways while they are here in the office if they are having difficulty walking, are on crutches, or in a wheelchair, or if it is a mom with small children. We have two heavy doors between our waiting room and back office, and it is often difficult for patients to maneuver through them while balancing/opening the doors." 

“I practice patient safety by scanning all of my patients and medications, to make sure that I am giving the appropriate medications all of the time.”

“I keep the lobby clear of unused wheelchairs and other items that may impede access to exits, walkways, etc.”

“This sounds very basic, but when a patient is being transferred by wheelchair to check in, it’s best to open the front door for the patient and give the patient room to get in. The same in elevators: it’s good to invite them to enter the elevator first and exit first before employees.”

“In the Laboratory, patient safety is an essential part of our work routine. Some examples of how I practice patient safety are: double checking the patient name in CIS with the label on the culture plates I am reading, barcoding and label re-printing whenever possible, and ensuring a proper read-back/repeat-back when communicating critical lab results.”

“I see patients in their homes working for Hospice, so I evaluate every home at every visit. As a patient’s condition declines, their safety needs change.”

“Patient safety is at the forefront of every good care provider’s mind. It doesn’t matter if you are documenting medications, answering a patient’s questions or simply making sure the walkways are clear of tripping hazards: Every action or inaction contributes to safety for our patients and ourselves. Proud to work for such a wonderful organization!”

“Good hand hygiene with every patient!”

“We keep systems and devices working to the fullest extent to service our patients and keep them safe.”

"We strive to report issues we see in the hospital that could be a danger to patients and staff.”

“One question I ask myself in almost every situation/condition: Is this safe for me and those around me? If the answer to either question is no, then it’s obvious that it’s not safe for patients and needs to be corrected or avoided.”

“I watch for things on the floor (such as paper clips or rubber bands) that shouldn’t be there and pick them up – whether in the halls or in a patient’s room. I also make sure I follow safety guidelines and remind patients about their call light; I always make sure it’s within reach. I also make sure other items are within reach such as tissues, suction and a phone.”

“I make sure that patients know it is okay for them to use the sink in the exam rooms for washing their hands, particularly when they will be putting themselves 'back together' after a pelvic exam, when coughing with a cold and during flu season.”

“I round on my patients at the start of my shift, letting them know who I am and that I am here to be of help to them. We review their mobility and safety issues and together agree on fall precautions and skin safety measures. I remind them to use the call bell 'early and often as needed.'

I round at least once an hour to check on them. I work together with my NAC to deliver the best care possible. I scan every patient and every med, every time. I ask for assistance whenever I need it and am glad to help out others on my floor. I put my patients' needs first all the time.”

“I have had a perfect safety record with all of my MRI patients since I started out at Michigan State University in 1992! I had the honor of serving in the Lead Tech capacity from 1992 t0 2006. I did not achieve this safety record by good luck or by doing my job alone. It takes communication and collaboration with management, security, tech coworkers and assistants, RNs, RTs and all of the countless ancillary staff in the hospital.

It is crucial to listen to your patients because they are the ones that hold the key for their safety. The RADIA radiology group that we work with is outstanding and are always there to answer my metal implant and protocol questions. The ED physicians, RNs and staff are first-rate. Thank you, EvergreenHealth!”

“I noted that though a patient had colchicine 0.6 mg daily tabs and had been taking them as ordered, this med was not on her PCP’s visit med list nor on the list from her recent visit to cardiologist. I phoned the patient’s PCP, Bartell’s pharmacy, the cardiologist and the patient to establish the patient’s need for the med. I feel happy that my attention to detail means that this patient’s risk of pericarditis will be lowered, and she will therefore be safer.”

"In Microbiology, we are very wary of the superbugs (we wear our PPE and yes, we do wash our hands, all the time!) and we do our CME to learn about these new superbug killers, and we are very, very, very careful.”

“I’m an RN working in EvergreenHealth Surgery Care, Tan. I maintain an advanced certification in moderate sedation administration to keep up on the latest safety measures to protect the patients under my care. Also, many of my patients are fall risks. We apply yellow safety slippers to all of our fall risk patients, and place a yellow tag on their charts so that everyone involved in their care is aware of that risk.”

“Involving the patient during bedside report has been crucial to a complete and safe transition of care. I believe the patient also has more confidence in the care we provide knowing we have complete information.”

“I practice safety by making sure that I am taking care of myself. Making sure that I get enough sleep, eating healthy, and having a right state of mind so that I am up and functioning to do my job. If we are not able to do our jobs correctly not only do we not provide excellent care for our patients but we are not as aware of potential safety issues.”

“Patient Safety is What We Do! No matter if it’s hand hygiene, two patient identifiers or walking through the hospital I try to be proactive and reactive to potential risks.”

“Although I do not see patients on a regular basis, I do look for obstacles or debris that I can pick up and/or move from the parking garage in the Plaza building. It helps keep both patients and my coworkers in a safe environment. Plus, having a clean exterior environment shows we care about our workplace and our image, and that will flow through to the interior, building trust.”

“I verify medication with medical assistants before administration; follow 5 Rights of medication administration – correct patient/medication/route/frequency/time; clarify lab specimens with correct patient identifiers; verify Lab specimens before sending off to the lab; practice time out prior to procedures with the provider and patient; complete medication reconciliation at every doctor’s visit and when doing hospital discharge follow-up calls; calibrate clinical equipment prior to use with patients; perform quality controls on glucometer & UA’s prior to use with patients; perform weekly med cart check for outdates and expired meds or vaccines; notify housekeeping of any spills/emesis; check storage room for outdates on supplies (swabs) and food items ( juices for patient use); and make sure glucometer supplies such as lancets, quality controls and test strips are not expired; educate patient to look out for expired supplies.”

“When I see patients in their room, I make sure that their call lights are within reach.”

“I practice patient safety by thorough hand washing and always using the correct PPE. Read your orders! Gait belt, color of socks, walker?”

“I keep an eye out for any spills or debris – I found peanuts on the main hallway floor in Red one day – on any of the floors. I report these incidences ASAP and visibly mark the area with paper towels or a cone to prevent any unfortunate falls. If it’s a small spill, I just clean it up myself.”

“I always verify my patient’s name.”

"I don’t provide clinical care, but when I see a visitor who appears uncertain or lost, I always walk them to their destination on the Kirkland campus. Treating patients with respect and concern has a “ripple effect” in our organization. And when we remind ourselves and one another that we’re here to provide CARE, we’re doing our part to ensure the safety of our patients.”

“In my role as a pharmacy technician, I strive to compound sterile products with patient safety in mind. I think to myself, Would I be comfortable with receiving this product or it being administered to one of my family members? Everyone is a loved one. With that mindset, I obligate myself to prepare safe intravenous solutions 100 percent of the time.”

“Hand washing is how I practice patient safety – along with smiles. People respond to kindness and they are more willing to ask if they feel you are there to help them.”

“My department, DI Scheduling, practices safety by confirming patients’ date of birth, phone number and address when scheduling patient appointments.”

“At the front desk, we ask patients to mask-up, as appropriate. This is very important to prevent spreading or having the patient get even sicker. We always verify the patient’s date of birth; making sure we have the correct patient is vital. Finally, we make sure that the patient’s address and phone number are up-to-date in case we need to contact the patient or, on occasion, we might be sending an aid car, for which we need a physical address, not a mailing address.”

“As a patient registrar in PSCU, I make sure the bed is locked so when a patient sits down the bed does not roll. And I make sure the path to the bed and chairs is free of obstacles.”

“As a hospice social worker who visits patients in the community, I ALWAYS sanitize my hands before entering the home and when I’m leaving, as well as in between if needed. In addition, I always put a pink drape barrier down when I put my laptop computer on a surface to prevent spreading germs from patient to patient.”

“Working on the Ortho floor, I feel it is extremely important that every patient uses a gait belt when ambulating. When I first meet a patient, I ensure all alarms are on, lines are dated, call light in reach, bed low and white board updated. I thoroughly explain the plan for the day the best I can. “I also make sure they know that I am here for them; I am never too busy for a patient and request that they use their call light the moment they feel they need to use the bathroom in case there is a short delay in receiving help. “Before leaving a room, I ask the patient and family, "What concerns or questions do you have?" and remind them to CALL if they need help- for anything! Often safety issues arise when I ask that simple question. Families have asked if they can take the patient for a walk (no); patients have told me about food allergies that weren't charted and many more other safety issues and events have arisen.” “Involving the patient during bedside report has been crucial to a complete and safe transition of care. I believe the patient also has more confidence in the care we provide knowing we have complete information.” “I practice safety by making sure that I am taking care of myself. Making sure that I get enough sleep, eating healthy, and having a right state of mind so that I am up and functioning to do my job. If we are not able to do our jobs correctly not only do we not provide excellent care for our patients but we are not as aware of potential safety issues.”