Effective communication within the interprofessional team is essential to improve patient safety. Finkelman and Kenner (2019) define speaking up as an expression of concern by healthcare providers for patient safety and quality of care after recognizing the risks or misconduct of other healthcare team members. These cases include errors, omissions, rule violations, and non-compliance with standard protocols. It appears that speaking up will immediately have a preventative impact on human errors or eliminate technical and systemic deficiencies. Nevertheless, medical professionals often choose silence, which occurred to me in a particular situation.
It happened at the beginning of my practice when I still did not have enough work experience. Seeing the doctor’s report, I was confused by the dosage of lithium for an older man with diabetes. Instead of discussing this issue, I was afraid to seem stupid and just kept silent. As a result, it occurred that the doctor made a mistake, and the patient’s serum insulin concentration increased, which led to the patient’s weakness and dizziness. Fortunately, the patient received medical attention on time, and no irreversible consequences occurred. Thus, aspects such as low self-identification with the role of a professional, a feeling of insecurity, fear of appearing incompetent, and fear of reprisals kept me from speaking up in this case. This occasion made a deep impression on me, and since then, my behavior in such situations has been radically different. Currently, I am frank about my fears for patient safety, which provides an excellent opportunity to avoid mistakes or recover from them. It is facilitated by factors such as the administrative support of the medical facility, interdisciplinary policies, coherence in my team, job satisfaction, and a high degree of responsibility towards patients.
Finkelman, A. & Kenner, C. (2019). Professional nursing concepts: Competencies for quality leadership (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.