Senior leaders wishing to demonstrate their commitment to safety and learn about the safety issues in their own organization can do so by making regular rounds for the sole purpose of discussing safety with the staff. During the WalkRounds™, the communication should go two ways, with both the executives and the staff talking honestly and listening carefully. Many organizations have found Patient Safety Leadership WalkRounds™ especially effective in conjunction with Safety Briefings which often provide material for executives to start discussions.
- Get a commitment from senior executives for an hour every week. The WalkRounds™ may be rescheduled but never canceled.
- Keep discussions focused on safety; don’t dilute the safety message by trying to cover other topics.
- Involve all the senior executives in the organization, not just the chief executive officer.
- Communicate with managers so they understand why senior executives are visiting their departments.
- Make sure that senior executives follow up and provide feedback to staff about issues raised during the WalkRounds™.
- Institute regular safety briefings. Pass along issues raised in the briefings (with names of the contributing staff members withheld) to the executives to talk about on their WalkRounds™.
Take a digital camera. It has been wonderful for PowerPoint presentations to staff and quality council meetings. Pictures are worth a thousand words. [Submitted by Marie Zappia Kuzmack, San Clemente Hospital]
Prior to leaving the unit, have executive summarize the issues and ask staff to prioritize 2 to 3 items to be addressed. [Submitted by: Eunice Jones, Catholic Healthcare Partners, Knoxville, TN]