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Leadership: Patient safety depends on it!

Murray, M. and Cope, V.ORCID: 0000-0002-4528-4268 (2021) Leadership: Patient safety depends on it! Collegian, 28 (6). pp. 604-609.

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Safety leadership in healthcare is required and should be encouraged from the bedside through to the executive and is essential for the safety of the patients in our care. Major health inquiries have highlighted failure of leadership as a cause of poor patient outcomes.

To highlight issues and initiatives raised within discussion forums by postgraduate health care management students asked to reflect upon leadership, quality and safety, and human factors in today's healthcare environment

A qualitative approach by way of retrospective review of compulsory discussion forum posts from online postgraduate quality and safety and human factors in health care units.

Authority gradients persist in contemporary healthcare settings, influenced to a certain degree by the multi-generational workforce, and ultimately compromising communication and teamwork. Human factors effects on care provision emphasised fatigue as a significant issue that needs to be addressed by appropriate workforce management.

The ability for healthcare professionals to challenge decisions and directives that may compromise safety is hampered by the persistence of both intra- and interprofessional authority gradients. Students reported hesitancy to challenge or seek assistance from those who hold ‘leadership’, or senior positions, due to distrust and fear of ridicule. Students could, however, see the bigger picture and sought to translate their learning into quality improvements in the workplace.

Challenging perceived authority is necessary and open communication should be encouraged through effective leadership. Effective leadership leads to efficient teamwork and ultimately safe and efficient care for patients.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Nursing
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2021 Australian College of Nursing Ltd.
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