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Sensemaking in Times of Uncertainty: Essential for Safety

Sensemaking, according to Karl Weick, is the process through which the complex and unpredictable world is given order, within which people can orient themselves, find purpose, and take effective action. Organizations unravel when sensemaking collapses, when they no longer supply meaning, and when they cling to interpretations that no longer work.

As we enter the third year of a global COVID-19 pandemic, when nearly every aspect of our care and caring has faced disruption, how do we make sense of and take action to prevent the unraveling of organizations and sustainably reverse setbacks in patient and workforce safety?

As part of IHI’s annual Patient Safety Awareness Week, this webinar on March 16, 2022, featured speakers Don Berwick, MD, MPP, and Jessica Berwick, MD, MPH, for a conversation on sensemaking during times of uncertainty, complexity, and chaos. This session will provide insights and perspective to foster sensemaking and action to reinforce patient and workforce safety in your organization.

Watch the recorded webinar


By the end of this webinar​ you’ll be able to:
  • Describe the impact of chaos and uncertainty on sensemaking.
  • Characterize the importance of sensemaking with respect to the current state of patient and workforce safety and well-being.
  • Identify one next step that you will incorporate today to foster sensemaking in your organization.


Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, KBE
President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement




Jessica Berwick, MD, MPH
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Attending Physician, Hospital Medicine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital




Patricia McGaffigan

Patricia A. McGaffigan, RN, MS, CPPS
Vice President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
President, Certification Board for Professionals in Patient Safety

​Continuing Education

Jointly-Accredited-Provider-TM_fw.png In support of improving patient care, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


I​HI is​​​ approved for 1 continuing education credit for physicians, ​nurses and the ​Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) recertification.


To be eligible for a continuing education certificate, attendees must complete the online evaluation within 30 days of the continuing education activity. After this period, you will be unable to receive a certificate.

Review the instructions to claim continuing education credits for the webinar.