Anticipate pushback, identify champions for successful launch of sign out process
Administrators interested in implementing the Safer Sign Out process should first reach out to physicians and nurses to discuss problems related to handoffs and get their feedback, advises Fuller. "If you show them what the issue is up front, then they will be more prepared for it," he says.
However, Fuller also emphasizes that it is important to anticipate some pushback because physicians and nurses are trained to do what he calls logical negative thinking. "We are trained to look for what is wrong in our patients and that sometimes translates to a process," he says. "You are always going to have your laggards because they are just being logical negative thinkers. If you think that they are not going to exist, you are setting yourself up for failure."
Recognize that laggards are a natural part of the team, says Fuller. Hear them and embrace them, but also help to educate them, he advises.
To help with the education piece, the non-profit Emergency Medicine Patient Safety Foundation (EMPSF) is acting as a national distribution site for the Safer Sign Out process, explains Diane Vass, executive director of EMPSF. "We have a forum for people to learn about Safer Sign Out through a regular bi-monthly webinar that Fuller will be doing," she says. "The foundation is also offering onsite coaching and training for those who would like to work with us more closely to insure a more successful launch of the process."
A critical step for organizations interested in implementing the process is to identify department champions early on, advises Vass. "They can take the lead in bringing the rest of the team together," she says. "It is not that complicated in the sense that all physicians and nurses intuitively understand what the risks are in handoffs."
Editor’s note: Access the Safer Sign Out form, and the EMPSF’s resources on Safer Sign Out at: www.empsf.org/safersignout.html.