Monday, October 19, 2009

12 In a Room Part 2 ...

Maybe you read my original post called
12 in a Room; we just had our second week together.

I don’t “do” fun I told my new found friends and colleagues as we started our second week of team building in our patient safety leadership training. I just don’t mix fun and work, and patient safety is all work. Or, can I have fun with people who share the same values for safe, quality healthcare on week long retreat? I have started to find myself laughing with them. Maybe it is because there is a comfort laughing with the same people who make me cry. My colleagues, a word I never thought I would feel comfortable using around people who have so many initials after their name they have to buy extra long stationary to sign a letter - but yes, they have in fact become my colleagues – and I hope - friends.

I found myself in tears as some of the presentations to the group were being delivered. Our Action Learning Project or ALP is a project we each choose to work on for the year that will improve patient’s safety.

I wiped my eyes as I heard the others share their projects as we were expected to give advice and applaud their work. I was crying tears of joy that I can be part of something so deeply meaningful and important. Possibly witnessing the cure to medical injury, each of these projects has the capability to save lives. Unfortunately, I also fear that these projects won’t make it past the walls of the institution where they start out. Could they save lives in all hospitals or will their work be stifled like many are?

I was asked by one of the Fellows if I feel more comfortable with them this time. She was kind enough to remember my discomfort last time we were together because I didn’t know where I fit. I do fit – we are all working to make healthcare safer, in our own way, in our own community, developing our own programs and projects as we learn to become leaders in the mysterious,complicated, hidden world of patient safety.

This time it is more stressful. The pressure is on. Our projects have all started and we all share some uphill battles and roadblocks.

Our training this time included an interactive discussion with Leonard Marcus, PhD the co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative of Harvard. We learned about how the brain works under stress and “fight, flight or freeze”, the reaction of the brain when surprised and how we should never make decisions in this state.

We heard from John Banja PhD, Director, Ethics in Research, Medical Ethicist, Center for Ethics, Emory University, Atlanta Georgia. I have been a fan of Dr. Banja for years and he talked disclosure of medical errors with role play and in depth discussion.

Other speakers helped us learn how to develop and hold focus groups, we learned about problems with hospital discharge and the huge cost to readmit patients, high reliability organizations and patient safety tools available at AHRQ.

The week started with team building down at the small beach in Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan.

We wrapped up the four days with a group discussion about how beneficial this training is, how much we are learning and how we can use this information to improve patient safety in our ALP and community we serve.

I feel very blessed to be part of this small, intimate group. Their knowledge, willingness to share and energy is one of the things that will help me stay focused on my ALP. I feel blessed to be part of this training. The information we a receiving is priceless, as is the relationships we are making.

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