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  • "But I spoke up anyway" (WPSD 2020)

    PatientSafetyLearning Team
    • UK
    • Interviews and reflections
    • New
    • Patients and public, Health and care staff, Patient safety leads


    17 September 2020 marks the second annual World Patient Safety Day. The theme this year is 'Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety'.

    In the run up to this special event, Patient Safety Learning are publishing a series of interviews with staff from across the health and care system to highlight key issues in staff safety and gain a clearer idea of the kind of change that needs to take place to keep staff, and ultimately patients, safe. 

    In this 2-minute video, Surgical First Assistant and Scrub Theatre Practitioner, Kathy Nabbie talks about her personal experiences of speaking up for patient safety. She highlights the fears that many feel in raising concerns and how staff can be helped to feel psychologically safe to talk about unsafe practice. 

    A transcript of the video is also included below. 



    Questions & Answers

    Do you feel psychologically safe at work, e.g. able to speak up?

    I have never felt psychologically safe at work to speak up, when I was a permanent member of staff.

    Like my colleagues, I was afraid I would be shunned, blacklisted, branded a troublemaker and, worst of all, lose my job.

    But I spoke up anyway. 

    I protected my patients; I did the Datix; I was always ready to face the consequences  which actually never happened!

    I believe this was because I had a supportive and understanding manager, whose practice was always at the heart of patient safety.

    Then, I moved on, and started working bank shifts. Suddenly, I was ‘only a bank nurse’ and not allowed to speak up. 

    But I spoke up anyway.

    My concerns on patient safety and bad practice were dismissed. My shifts were blocked after reporting a patient safety incident.

    It has taken almost a year for me to feel comfortable to return to work in another bank role.

    How can trusts improve to ensure that staff are kept safe at work?

    Trusts can improve by respecting all roles, whether locum or permanent, and ensure they have the same rights in speaking up.

    Private hospitals should have Freedom to Speak Up guardians in post.

    Our concerns should be taken seriously and not dismissed.

    In fact, we should be acknowledged and applauded for reporting bad and unsafe practice.

    After all, the only reason we are there, is for the patient.

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