April 9, 2021

New SPF Podcast: Our COVID-19 year

Northern Health’s Safe Practice Forum is back, but with a twist. Because of the pandemic, the traditional forum had to be put on hold, but is now returning in the form of a podcast.

Topics and guest are still relevant, timely and offer our staff a chance to share patient stories, and personal experiences. Together with host, Dr Bill Shearer, Executive Director Transformation, Quality and Safety, these conversations help us as an organisation provide a safer and better patient experience.

“Since we can’t get together, we thought we’d come to you via a podcast. We’ll be coming to you each month to share a patient case, and look at the ‘system’ from a wide-lens. As part of our transformation towards a High Reliability Organisation (HRO), the SPF helps us focus our efforts on building a safety culture that is central to delivering a safe and positive patient experience,” said Dr Shearer.

“The Safe Practice Forum (now our podcast) is actively applying HRO principles – importantly, action learning and the development of leadership capacity in small teams’, said Clare McCarthy, who works with Dr Shearer on our HRO transformation and who produces the podcast.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated how important team work and communication are to our safety culture – our podcast is now central to that culture”, said Clare.

The inaugural January podcast, featured James Ash, ED/ICU Clinical Lead Pharmacist, and Dr Joe Rotella, Emergency Physician and Clinical Toxicologist, sharing their experience caring for a patient with serotonin syndrome.

Now, the second episode is up, with Dr Christian McGrath, Infectious Diseases Physician and COVID-19 Clinical Lead, and Madelaine Flynn Manager Infection prevention who share what has 2020 been like for them, and how they see 2021.

“The last 12 months have challenged us mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually at times. Nobody expected to be in the pandemic in 2020. The biggest point for me was to see how well everybody has done, both inside and outside of the hospital. Everybody was kind to each other, even in stressful situations, and that has made me really proud to work at Northern,” Madelaine said.

“I agree, it was pretty amazing and everybody put their hands up to help – that is the attitude that got us through. Now that the things are a bit calmer, it is important to acknowledge that people are tired and a bit burned out – that is the reality. It was the adrenaline kick that kept us going last year, so that is why it is now important to look after ourselves, so we can get through the next 12 months,” Christian said.

Dr McGrath often gets asked how he sees 2021 and what people can expect and says he wished he had a crystal ball.

“But, I don’t have one – unfortunately. But the reality is COVID-19 will be with us for some time. We are lucky in Australia to be where we are.”

To hear the full podcast, please click here.

Featured image (left to right): Dr Christian McGrath, Clare McCarthy, Madelaine Flynn.