Let’s not stop till everyone is dancing with us

Another jam-packed day and with each new session I was again left thinking ‘why aren’t they teaching me this in medical school?’

Knowledge of safety in healthcare is a graduate attribute required by the AMC but seems to be overlooked in many medical school curricula. Institutions looking to satisfy a requirement might squeeze something in, but great educators and institutions looking to emulate best practice will shift focus and make room for the important stuff, and if patient safety isn’t the important stuff then I’m joining the wrong profession.

It is clear that myriad factors determine the safety outcomes of patients in our hospitals and so many of these factors are under our direct control but too often the individuals involved are lacking the skills and knowledge required to mitigate the risk and keep patients safe.

The hubris of some in the profession has lead to a culture where speaking up is undervalued and challenging a superior is actually frowned upon. Medicine needs more than a small change in thinking about patient safety, we need a giant shift in the way each and every stakeholder operates in the system.

We talk and even joke about aha moments but the past is marked by many such moments that go on to spark movements and eventually change the face of history. In years to come we will look back on the negligent attitudes towards patient safety the same way we look back on segregation and gender inequality, in disbelief. Doctors of the future simply wont believe that patient safety was not always highly valued, well taught and at the forefront of everybody’s mind during each patient encounter.

I am so pleased to have met the leaders in this field and feel privileged to be one of the first followers. Now let’s not stop till everyone is dancing with us.