World Health Organization. Medication without harm. 2017. (accessed 1 November 2022)

Focusing on what went right

10 November 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 20

Placing patient safety in the hands of nurses at the bedside involves an element of trust: care is not simply about addressing a patient's physical needs, but also about providing psychological support as part of holistic recovery. Empowered nurses at the bedside motivate not only themselves, but also their colleagues to bring about positive patient outcomes and promote an effective work environment. When the right environment is fostered, nurses are highly capable clinicians, whose excellence is recognised.

Over the past two decades, there has been a paradigm shift in the approaches to error prevention culture building. The common question asked in health care is: ‘what went wrong?’ In my role as a senior nurse, I have moved the focus from what went wrong to what went right: my perspective has shifted to identifying the best nurses and giving them a higher profile.

How do such nurses stand out? Some years ago, one surgeon told me that, during a difficult operation, he was amazed when his nurse passed him a C clamp, which helped him identify the vessel and ligate. Without the nurse's timely action, the patient would have bled profusely. The nurse's presence of mind meant she did a great job and deserved the accolade of best nurse on the surgeon's team.

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