We were very gratified to be able to have US Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, MD, come and speak to our membership this past month. Doctor Gillingham is the commander of Navy Medicine West, which provides health care to over 675,000 beneficiaries. His engaging talk about the principles of high-reliability health care looked at lessons learned from the fleet.
Some of his examples included:
One thing he said that really intrigued me was that 'psychological safety is paramount to a high reliability organization...These cultures have an intense focus on failure so that they can catch errors at low amplitudes.' But if people do not feel they can be vulnerable about an error or weakness – they will not speak up about it if there is great risk at losing their reputation or their job.
And think about this: when physicians need to speak up about their own personal weakness, can they do that in a way that does not torpedo their own career?
If we want high reliability physicians as well as HRO's, then we must change the culture of medicine so that it is OK to admit there is something wrong, be it in the operating room, the board room, or the physicians lounge.
Does your workplace make you feel that you are allowed to be human? What are the obstacles to that? And what influence might you have to make a difference?
I’d sure be interested to hear from you about this topic. Drop me a line:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 336-2930.