As I begin my travel to Colorado, I reflect on the series of decisions that brought me to this terminal. I began my residency at the beginning of the COVID pandemic with the intention of just trying to make it through the year. An opportunity at my institution presented itself that would involve resident feedback for patient safety. I saw this as a way of professionally developing myself and chose to pursue this and participate in the committee. It was through this patient safety committee that I learned about the AELPS conference and I applied to the program without further thoughts. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the conference was delayed and I had to wait until this week in order to finally participate.
In the intervening time, the resident patient safety committee was started and I began on my path towards patient safety. Something that surprised me about the committee was the incredible details of patient care that have been discussed among the residents and hospital leadership, some of which I had not even considered, and the way they would walk us through real life cases from our own institution as a way to place a face to our own errors. What it made me realize, however, was that I was somewhat out of my depth and lacked knowledge in terms of appropriate vocabulary and phrasing, as well as ideas of were to start and who to seek out and talk to about enacting a plan. As for the latter, my academic advisor has helped ease me into the patient safety world, sharing her years of experience in the field and offering her time to discuss any topic further as I continue to pursue these interests.
Since the beginning of my residency I have seen multiple near misses occur and our pharmacy and nursing teams has been a great help in catching some of my own inappropriate orders. Despite these barriers that are in place to prevent any harm to the patients themselves, systemic issues continue to plague certain parts of the hospital that weaken our patient safety programs. I know that there are certain clinical rotations where my fellow residents and I suffer from lack of sleep which requires immense effort on behalf of the oncoming team in order to ensure that the appropriate orders have been placed and that the patients are well cared for during their stay. As a member of the resident patient safety committee and as the patient safety contact person for the residents in the pediatric program, I feel it is my duty to learn as much as I can about this field in order to bring it home and enhance my institution with new ideas and better support.
While the pandemic is something that we continue to deal with today, I’m glad we will be able to convene in Colorado to meet and discuss patient safety topics. I expect my preconceived notions on patient care to be challenged and I hope to gain some insight on the challenges modern hospitals face and possibly leave with a new understanding of how I can best assist my home institution in improving patient safety programs.