Cincinnati Children's Blog

Radiology Safety Coaches: Keeping our Patients Safe

Radiology Safety Coaches: Keeping our Patients Safe

In radiology, employees who have a passion for safety can volunteer to be safety coaches. Safety coaches help prevent errors by both modeling and teaching coworkers specific safety practices.

All radiology safety coaches receive special training in communication strategies and safety behaviors. Once trained, they provide on-the-spot feedback to coworkers who are using safety behaviors. Praising others in front of parents, coworkers, and managers is a powerful way to reinforce safe behaviors.

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What does a typical day look like for a safety coach? Take Janet, who works as a technologist in ultrasound. She observes another technologist, Stacey, on the phone asking questions about a patient who needs to schedule an ultrasound. By collecting accurate information, Stacey is able to schedule the patient for the proper study and, as a result, keep the patient safe. Janet praises Stacey in front of all the technologists to reinforce this safety behavior. A bit later, Janet sees Renee verifying a patient’s name, date of birth and the reason for the ultrasound study with the patient’s mother. Janet immediately praises Renee in front of the family for making sure she has the correct patient for the correct study, thereby keeping the patient safe. After lunch, Dr. Smith comes into Janet’s ultrasound room to speak to a child and her family. Janet notices that Dr. Smith does not wash her hands. She offers a gentle reminder: “Dr. Smith, just reminding you to wash your hands.” Dr. Smith thanks Janet for the reminder and proceeds to wash her hands.

By being observant, using positive feedback and open communication, safety coaches are improving patient safety in radiology.

Article contributed by Julie Dickerson.

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