The NYU/Bellevue House Staff Safety Council held its first meeting on June 22 and is planning its projects for the year. Interested in forming a House Staff Safety Council of your own? Frances Briones, A CIR member offer from Harlem Hospital, shared these guidelines:
I think it is a really good idea for your hospital to build a resident safety council; oftentimes hospitals come up with policies without understanding the difficulties that house staff encounter and its impact on patient care and health care delivery. Below I’ve outlined the steps to getting a council started in your hospital:
- Invite representatives from every department — residents who will be committed to attending the monthly meetings.
- Set a specific date, time and place: this is advantageous for all the members so that they can designate a proxy right away in case they are not able to attend and also in asking permission for ‘protected time.’
- Get support of the administration.
- Invite your DIO (Designated Institutional Officer) or her equivalent to attend your meetings, this ensures that your issues get escalated and helps with faster resolution.
- Request GME representation for your council. (This is important because between the program directors and head of departments they may have answers to the questions that come up; it will also give residents an opportunity to provide feedback on the impacts of policies that the administration may not be aware of.)
- Invite the Patient Safety Officer of your hospital to your meetings. For us she has been a real force, especially in communicating with nursing and ancillary staff.
- Finally, identify elected officers who will lead the group and follow up on projects.
Following these steps is a great way to begin fostering your council. Remember that ‘Protected Time’ is important. Creating a safety council is a lot of work but it’s fun and fulfilling–you’ll be surprised with the number of house staff who would want to get involved. Good luck!