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:

“Always be alert! And with medication administration, always practice the 5 Rights: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right time.”

“In my role as Chief Information Officer at various organizations and now EvergreenHealth, I continually emphasize with staff in Information Technology to make sure they fully understand what (or shall I say who) is on the other side of their work – our patients, clinicians and staff. Having this very clear understanding helps them leverage technology and in doing so aids our clinicians in doing the right thing well, which includes which includes continuous improvements in patient safety.”

“As a new employee just finishing orientation, I will be using SafeLinq to report any “unsafe issues and/or concerns” affecting patients, patients’ family, staff or anyone in the clinic or on campus.”

“I work in the outpatient Wound Clinic. My background is in rehab nursing, working with spinal cord injuries. I frequently have the opportunity to teach safe patient transfers to/from wheel chair to exam chairs. Our clinic will be working on providing this teaching as part of the new staff orientation.” 

“In my role, I reinforce and remind staff of best practices regularly. For example, at an all-staff meeting in the fall, I created a quiz game show activity with the providers and staff on teams, answering safety and quality answers for team points. The competition got everyone fired up and discussing topics such as what to do when a patient brings in expired/unused medication that they want to get rid of.”

“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.”