March 20, 2023

Safety is everyone’s responsibility

The Speaking Up For Safety (SUFS) program is a series of one-hour workshops designed to equip staff with the skills and confidence to escalate concerns around patient and/or staff safety with assertiveness and respect.

The program aims to build and normalise a culture where staff feel comfortable to check on each other, and to welcome being checked on, with the aim of preventing unintended harm.

The program launched late last year at Northern Health, with staff who attended a SUFS session noting the, “empowering and encouraging,” training when it came to speaking up for safety in the workplace.

“The SUFS training was empowering and encouraging. It provides a practical stepped communication approach that increases confidence in raising concerns about safety. I really liked that the training also considers the tricky ethical issues that impact on staff when faced with the decision to speak up for patient and staff safety,” said Dr Brooke Froud-Cummins, Clinical Leader, Psychology, Allied Health.

Johanna Hayes, Divisional Director Hospital Without Walls, said the program was a great initiative.

“I attended the session which was led by Rachel Nolan. I would strongly recommend all staff, clinical and non-clinical, to attend,” she said.

“Already myself and my colleagues have used the words and phrases learnt. It’s a great initiative and I have to commend the skills of the presenter for running an insightful session.”

Wendy Nichol, Operations Manager, Support Services, said it was important for all staff to understand, that no matter their position at Northern Health, safety was everyone’s responsibility.

“The SUFS training provides tools and tips to empower staff to speak up when they see something that is unsafe for patients or staff and allows them to have the confidence to do so,” she said.

All staff will be invited to attend an online SUFS session via Microsoft Teams. Calendar invitations will be sent from Managers and Division Leaders this month, encouraging their staff to attend the workshops.

Bianca Fazzari, People and Culture Business Partner, said the physical and psychological safety of patients and staff was crucial in delivering quality care and a positive patients experience Northern Health can be proud of.

“That’s why we have partnered with The Cognitive Institute to deliver SUFS,” she said.

“This one-hour workshop forms the foundations we need to learn the Safety C.O.D.E (Checks, Options, Demands, Elevates) – but we aren’t stopping there. We want to embed it into our daily practice on every ward, in every team – clinical and non-clinical – at every handover, meeting and critical moment in each patient’s care.”

“By doing this, we can strengthen the culture of safety at Northern Health – safely, kindly, and together.”

Watch the below video for more information on the Safety CODE.

Featured image shows SUFS trainers, Melanie Alcorn, Sarah Charles, Bonnie Ferguson and Jake Gelvezon.