SJT: Key domains – Safety

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July 6, 2014 by Emedica

There are lots of things which are important principles when working in medicine or dentistry but the one which should always be top priority – especially in an emergency – is safety.

  • Patient safety

When an emergency is in full flow lots of other considerations are likely to take a back seat! If a woman is giving birth, in a busy high street, then considerations regarding confidentiality and remit will be less important than the safe delivery of her baby and her health. Less dramatically it is important to remember that however important different processes are the patient is always the most important. Any action which is likely to delay or prevent a patient receiving good and necessary care is likely to be inappropriate.

  • Your colleagues

Medicine is a team sport! It cannot be practised in isolation – at least not if the best outcomes are sought. You will, as a medical professional, be working in a team and it is the responsibility of everyone in that team to look out for each other. If you know a colleague is not eating well, or is misusing drugs, or seems to be suffering from a mental illness…. then it is your responsibility to try and help that colleague. Your team will be compromised if one member of it is not well. If your team is compromised then patient safety is also at risk…. see bullet point one!

  • Yourself

An unhealthy doctor is never the best doctor they can be. An exhausted dentist will not be a great dentist. When the lives or the wellbeing of patients is dependent on you then you have a responsibility to make sure you are at your best when you are at work. This may mean saying ‘No’ when asked to do back to back shifts, it may mean saying ‘No’ to that glass of wine the night before an early, it may mean saying ‘No, I can’t come to work today’ if you wake with a sore throat and a bunged up nose. There are no medals for ‘macho doctor’ who works 48 hour shifts whilst suffering from a broken leg and a severe case of flu! In fact – macho doctor is a danger to patients, and an annoyance to his colleagues!


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