This article considers the definition of a just culture and identifies the key elements associated with this. It then goes on to discuss tools and resources that may be beneficial for leaders who are seeking to create a just culture for staff safety in the perioperative setting.
- A core strategy for organisational leaders to establish safe environments for both patients and staff members is taking responsibility for creating and nurturing a culture of safety. Leaders can strive to reach this goal in their facilities by implementing a just culture – a model and framework in which staff members are empowered to share concerns, near misses, or errors freely without fear of punishment.
- In a just culture, leaders focus not only on why a mistake occurs, but also on the individual’s intent, and then hold that individual accountable for the behaviour. There are three types of behaviours that may lead to a safety event: human errors, at-risk errors, and reckless errors.
- A just culture represents a paradigm shift in health care that replaces the traditional mindset of using punitive measures, assigning individual blame, and applying penalties with a mindset of understanding that because health care is a complex industry, being accountable for safety is everyone’s responsibility.
- Examples of tools and resources that organisational leaders can leverage include root cause analyses, voluntary incident-reporting systems, safety huddles, near miss evaluations and recognition of a good catch. Encouraging continuous improvement and rewarding team members who are willing to speak up, adapt, and help the organisation increase safety is an important step on the path to high reliability.