17th September 2021 is World Patient Safety Day

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Susan Macaulay and Noreen Macdonald at Stornoway Hospital

The 17th September 2021 is World Patient Safety Day and Healthcare Quality Improvement module leaders Susan Macaulay and Noreen Macdonald share how their jobs have changed in recent times and how studying with us has supported their careers. 

Find out more about studying Healthcare Quality Improvement.

World Patient Safety Day was established in 2019 to enhance global understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in the safety of health care and promote global actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm - https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2021/09/17/default-calendar/world-patient-safety-day-2021


Susan Macaulay – Senior Charge Nurse in the Emergency Department of the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway reflects on patient safety “When I started my nursing career over 30 years ago, I never imagined the changes I would be involved in to deliver safe healthcare. While no one intends to do harm, sometimes we didn't know what we didn't know, for instance all the patients we had on bed rest who either developed DVTs, pulmonary embolisms or simply deconditioned to what is known now as PJ paralysis. 

As a Senior Charge Nurse, I am continuously involved in change and new developments, and it is also important to understand why things go wrong.  I became involved in delivering the Patient Safety module as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Quality Improvement with UHI in 2019 and I quickly realised I wanted to learn more about quality improvement. While I was involved in many quality improvement projects within my day job in the NHS, I wanted to make sure change was indeed improvement and how we measure change or outcomes for safe care. As quoted by Berwick (1996:619) “Not all change is improvement, but all improvement is change, therefore I needed the theoretical knowledge and skills to ensure quality improvement success.

I am thankful that my employers continue to support my development with funding and completion of the UHI postgraduate certificate was easily accessible online, a platform UHI have used for many years of delivered, fitting studies in with work and family were challenging at times; but what excites me the most on completion is acquiring skills that are transferable to my role within the NHS.  Thankfully today modern healthcare strives to evaluate care, constantly reviewing outcomes and Patient Safety is paramount in delivering safe quality healthcare. We celebrate Patient Safety Day on the 17th September during what has been one of the most difficult times, during a pandemic, but also a time of great change.

I would encourage everyone from every domain within Health and Social care to consider how valuable quality improvement skills and their link with patient safety could be in their workplace.”

Noreen Macdonald comments: “Like Susan, I have been a nurse for over 30 years. Over this time, I was involved in a number of healthcare developments and programmes that demonstrated the benefits and impact of quality improvement (QI). This led me to join the Clinical Governance team as a Quality Improvement co-ordinator in NHS Western Isles and in 2019/20 supported by my manager; I undertook the UHI Post Graduate certificate in Quality Improvement in Healthcare. In completing the certificate, I have gained a deeper understanding and a greater awareness of Quality improvement and patient safety. It has helped to build on my years of clinical experience with the theoretical knowledge of patient safety and QI methods and tools to undertake QI projects with a focus on safe and effective patient care.

The course is delivered online, and although I had not undertaken formal studies for some time, I found it easy to access. I enjoyed the content of the modules and learning with other students. Working together, with supportive tutors, gave opportunity for exploration and learning of how QI and patient safety principles are applied across different health and social care settings. In completing this I have become a more confident QI healthcare practitioner and I would recommend the course to all healthcare practitioners.”