Creating Opportunities for Safety – Day #4

“Psychological safety is the felt environment for candor.” – Amy Edmondson

This quote really resonated with me during Kelly’s talk on Speaking Up yesterday because I have had experiences in which I felt both psychologically safe and unsafe. During the times I felt psychologically safe, I felt comfortable speaking up and voicing my concerns/opinions. During the times I felt psychologically unsafe, I kept my mouth shut out of fear that I was potentially wrong or even rude for saying something. Keeping these experiences in mind, how can I foster an environment that feels psychologically safe for my co-workers? And how can I help disseminate a psychologically safe culture on my unit, amongst interdisciplinary teams?

Another eye-opening moment yesterday occurred during David’s talk on Human Factors Engineering. We discussed examples of human factor errors, such as driving away from the gas station with the gas hose still attached to your car or locking your keys in your apartment. Just a few weeks ago I locked my keys in my apartment and had to Uber to work! This discussion helped me to realize how common human factor errors can be outside of work, so imagine the number of human factor errors that could happen at work. It’s scary to consider the number of human factor errors that occur due to unconscious competence as well, because we may not even realize our mistakes due to the lack of focused thinking. All of this highlights the need for safe systems that can catch our errors that would otherwise go unnoticed or undetected (unless patient harm was a result).