Surgical Safety Stand Down: Persisting Through a Pandemic

“Families come to us and bring their very most prized possession. We take their child away to a place they can’t go to and don’t understand, and they trust that we will bring them back healthier than when they left. This is a huge privilege and obligation, so we really need to focus on safety every single day for every single patient.”
Frederick Ryckman, MD.

Dan von Allmen, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, began the 12th annual Frederick C. Ryckman Surgical Safety Stand Down on August 24, with this quote and outlined what we are doing to honor that trust as we continue to make safety our highest priority.

The stand down is a time to reflect on our safety record from the previous year and look at ways to improve in the future. If you couldn’t attend, don’t worry—we have you covered.

The overall message was clear—we had a great year, but we always want to strive to do better than before and be the safest we can be.

Here at Cincinnati Children’s, the safety and well-being of our patients is always top-of-mind. During the Surgical Safety Stand Down, Dan noted that we achieved a milestone of 302 days (and counting) since our last serious safety event (SSE).

This streak without an SSE marks one of the longest in Cincinnati Children’s history.

While this is a number we are proud of, it is important to remain vigilant. We must continue to build on this foundation and create the safest environment for our patients and families that we know is possible.

Periop leaders reported that they continue to thrive, despite the pandemic. From employee recruitment and retention to an outstanding milestone in safety, Periop has become a model for other areas at Cincinnati Children’s to follow.

At the time of the Surgical Safety Stand Down, it had been over 1,000 days (and counting) since the last SSE in Periop. This number represents years of hard work in making safety the number-one priority. Having achieved this while facing COVID-19 and staffing issues, Periop is not looking to slow down now. Just like with patient safety, we must not be complacent, and we continue to identify areas that need improvement.

To ease staffing shortages, Periop has developed new recruitment and retention initiatives. For recruitment, they created a pipeline to increase role transition students, extern positions and student nurse PCAs. They also established weekly communication with Human Resources’ talent acquisition team. For retention, they created a mentorship program, with an emphasis on increasing 1:1 conversations.

Through all the hardships we have endured with COVID-19, we have persisted. Even through our most challenging times, our commitment to safety has not only prevailed, but thrived.

We have accomplished so much since we began our safety work, but we are on a journey that is never-ending. Remember, we are always safer together.

For more safety information, follow this link.

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