Darawad MW, Mansour M, Al-Niarat T Organisational empowerment and assertive communication behaviours: a survey of Jordanian newly qualified nurses. Br J Nurs. 2020; 29:(7)419-425

Fagan A, Parker V, Jackson D A concept analysis of undergraduate nursing students speaking up for patient safety in the patient care environment. J Adv Nurs. 2016; 72:(10)2346-2357

Johnson L, Malik N, Gafson I Improving patient safety by enhancing raising concerns at medical school. BMC Med Educ. 2018; 18:(1)

Enhancing patient safety: empowering students to speak up

25 June 2020
2 min read
Volume 29 · Issue 12

Dear Editor,

I read with great interest the article by Darawad et al (2020) drawing attention to the perceived structural empowerment of newly qualified nurses and its correlation with speaking-up behaviours. As a medical student at University College London and a recipient of dedicated patient safety teaching, I felt encouraged to reflect on my experiences.

I agree with the authors' conclusions that ‘organisation-wide efforts’ must be adopted in order to empower nurses to assertively challenge unsafe practice. I believe, however, that this issue requires greater emphasis at an earlier stage, in particular during undergraduate training. By enhancing and refining patient safety teaching during training years, I believe that we can form individuals who feel empowered to speak up before and upon entering the profession. Such improvements in education will ultimately improve patient safety, care and outcomes.

As students we are taught the importance of recognising unsafe conditions, reporting errors and near misses, and of raising concerns when patient care or safety is being compromised. This is explained to students as a responsibility and expectation, yet I feel the method of delivery of this core message, largely in lecture-based teaching, is problematic. It renders students unfamiliar with the actual practice of raising concerns and lacking in confidence about how or whether to do so in practice.

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