Clinical decisions rarely occur in isolation. We must consider the social contexts in clinical environments and draw on theories of social emotion to help us better understand the influence of others’ emotion on our own thoughts, feelings and, ultimately, our ability to deliver safe care.
In their Editorial in BMJ Quality & Safety, Jane Heyhoe and Rebecca Lawton explorie the role of social emotion in patient safety and looks at the recent research in this emerging area. They call on the patient safety community to embrace the idea that emotions and emotional contexts exert important impacts on healthcare delivery. Characterising these impacts will inform strategies for supporting staff and delivering safer and more effective care to patients.