Don't Overlook Resident Training on the National Patient Safety Goals

Julie McCoy, November 17, 2009

The Joint Commission's 2010 National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG) will take effect January 1, which begs the question: What is your plan for training residents on the NPSGs?

All too often, hospital and graduate medical education (GME) administrators overlook teaching residents about NPSGs. Instead, they educate attending physicians, assuming the message will trickle down to the residents. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.

Everyone in the hospital should view residents as a critical part of the hospital's care delivery team. It's just as important to teach residents about the NPSGs as it is to educate nurses, attending physicians, and other healthcare providers, says Constance K. Haan, MD, MS, senior associate dean of educational affairs and designated institutional official at University of Florida College of Medicine—Jacksonville.

Not only is the training important for maintaining patient safety, but it is also critical for compliance with Joint Commission standards, says Bud Pate, REHS, vice president of The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Marblehead, MA.

"The NPSGs apply to all staff. There is no difference in expectation for residents than anyone else when it comes to complying with the goals," Pate says.

The following are suggestions on how to train residents on the NPSG:

Campus-wide grand rounds. At Haan's institution, residents must attend a campus-wide grand rounds presentation that covers the NPSGs.

"We made this a mandatory training because we wanted to send the message that patient safety is important," Haan says.

Make the information stick by showing residents how NPSGs affect their daily patient care responsibilities. Haan distributes and posts online a handout that describes the goals and how residents apply them on a local level.

For example, the handout describes what The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) expects hospitals to do to comply with NPSG.02.05.01, regarding handoffs. It then lists the facility's procedure for handoffs and outlines what happens if residents violate one of the policies or procedures.


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