An organization’s ability to promote professional behavior is directly dependent on the culture of the organization. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has been dedicated to creating a culture where professionalism can thrive. Our May Safety Salute is to Dr. Hickson and VUMC for the strides made towards creating a culture of reliability and professional accountability.
Jerry Hickson, MD, Chief Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Prevention Officer at VUMC told us:
“ Professionalism policies will not work if behaviors that undermine a culture of safety go on unobserved, unreported, and unaddressed. If appropriately supported by leadership, peers will deliver respectful, non-judgmental feedback to their colleagues, a critical underpinning in pursuite of a culture of safety. ”
In his presentation at the CRICO 2014 patient safety symposium, Walk This Way, Dr. Hickson shared the infrastructure that VUMC has implemented to promote reliability and professional accountability*:
- Leadership commitment (will not blink)
- Goals, a credo, and supportive policies
- Surveillance tools to capture observations/data
- Processes for reviewing observations/data
- Model to guide graduated interventions
- Multi-level professional/leader training
- Resources to address unnecessary variation
- Resources to help affected staff and patients
Dr. Hickson’s full presentation from Walk This Way is available here.
*Hickson GB, Pichert JW, Webb LE, Gabbe SG. A complementary approach to promoting professionalism: Identifying, measuring and addressing unprofessional behaviors. Acad Med. 2007 Nov;82(11):1040-1048.
Hickson GB, Moore IN, Pichert JW, Benegas Jr M. Chapter 1: Balancing systems and individual accountability in a safety culture. In: Berman S, ed. From Front Office to Front Line. 2nd ed. Oakbrook Terrace, IL: Joint Commission Resources;2012:1-36.