Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Organization of the Year

My mom handed me the beautiful cut glass statue which was awarded to PULSE of NY from the Long Island Women’s Agenda as their Organization of the Year.

The statue is wonderful and the recognition is heartwarming, but there are two things that struck me.

One is that we had a table of representatives and volunteers to take the credit for making PULSE of NY successful. I could not be there but wanted to. I woke up so sad that morning that I could not be there at the dinner but instead, was traveling and speaking at a medical conference to try to help those who work in healthcare understand the importance, and how to include the patient and family in patient safety. Finally, we are being recognized in our own community and I couldn’t be there. But thankfully, our hard working support system is taking credit for what they do.

Second, are we finally giving patient safety a voice in the community? A local, Long Island organization, with over 65 members now know that patient safety is being addressed in their back yard?

I love to speak about patient safety and share what I have learned by working with the experts in the field, but I have been saddened that for all the years of work put into it, I don’t feel any safer in my own community health system.

Simply put, a nurse did not wash before touching my son yesterday. When asked to, she said she did already. I told her she touched the door knob to get in (I knew because he wanted the door closed and I thought about the door knob) and she touched the pen, clipboard and before I could keep going, she said “Fine, I’ll wash again”. My son proudly told her “my mom is into patient safety, as a matter of fact, her organization just won an award”.

While washing, the nurse practitioner, in training, asked me some questions about what we do, and I told her briefly what we do. Why should it matter? Why can’t they all just wash?

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