Communicating information about patient safety is an important responsibility that should not always fall to managers alone. It is often better to have a staff member in this role. Having a designated safety champion in every department and patient care unit demonstrates the organization’s commitment to safety and may make other staff members feel more comfortable about sharing information and asking questions. Champions must have proper training, resources, and authority.
- Seek volunteers from the staff; don’t assign the task to a reluctant staff member.
- Give the safety champion the power to come up with quick solutions to certain problems, such as getting equipment fixed or replaced.
- Remind staff members that the safety champion is their ally, not an informer or a disciplinarian.
- Train the safety champion in safety concepts such as Human Factors Engineering — the science of why people make mistakes.
- Bring safety champions from different units together regularly to share information.
- Check with staff members occasionally to see how well the safety champion is meeting their needs.