​​This week's Looking Ahead is about our core value of safety and my request for everyone to participate in UHN's safety culture survey which starts today.

It is essential that everyone at UHN regard the safety of our patients and staff as a core value.   We need to speak openly about errors or near misses with a view to working together to ensure that no harm comes to our patients or ourselves and creating opportunities for us to learn from near misses and failures. I know that sometimes it takes courage to speak up and I want to start this conversation with my own story about a medical error that happened to me and my surgical team – and what we did about it.

I can tell you that that event and what I learned from it has never left me. In fact, it led to my commitment to patient safety and an open culture where we all speak up to prevent harm and to support each other. I know that many of you will have had similar experiences. When healthcare workers like ourselves see patients experience preventable harm, we harbour feelings of guilt and in many ways we become a second victim. Speaking up on safety and establishing safety as a core value will help us to use these experiences to bolster teamwork and to enable us to care safely for the thousands of patients that are counting on us for safe care. It will also help us to protect ourselves and to reduce injury rates in co-workers. Working together we can make UHN a safer workplace, safer for ourselves, and safer for patients.

I am asking that everyone take the time to participate in the Speak Up for Safety survey which begins today. No matter what your primary mission area is in the organization: education, research, or patient care – we need you to participate in the survey. Regardless of your role: caregiver, administrator, physician, student – we need to you to participate. Everyone's input is absolutely critical to our ability to understand the safety culture that exists at UHN and where we need to work to bolster teamwork.

The link to the survey is here and it will take you about 15 minutes to complete. It is an anonymous survey as an individual but you will be able to identify the area where you work which will be critical to our ability to use the survey results. Toronto Rehab has used this survey for six years now and the results have helped them focus their work by unit and area with excellent results.  It also allows us to compare our safety culture to hundreds of hospitals – which is always valuable when working to improve an organization.

Please encourage all colleagues in your work unit regardless of where you work in the organization to complete the survey. ​My thanks in advance for your participation and your support on this journey!


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