May 9, 2008

elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: If a nurse were to have patient care safety or quality concerns, and believed that his or her voice would not be heard by a supervisor, what should that nurse do?

Answer: I'm not sure what your specific concerns may be, but all voices need to be heard. Our improvement efforts in the hospital and clinic center on patient care quality, and at all times patient safety is our first concern.

If your question concerns a patient care quality issue and your supervisor doesn't adequately respond, please contact your supervisor's supervisor with your concerns. If necessary, continue along the chain of command until you receive a proper response.

Any staff member or physician who identifies a safety hazard should use the VERITAS-RM system to report the hazard to Risk and Insurance Management (per operations policy OP 10-10.24, “Occurrence Reporting: Patient & Visitor”). To contact a Risk Management staff member directly, call 936-0660.

If your concerns have to do with patient care compliance, please contact Medical Center Compliance, 343-7266, or call their Confidential Helpline, 343-0135.

Individuals who identify and report quality issues or safety hazards are not subject to retaliatory action. Nor are they subject to disciplinary action for reporting actual adverse occurrences or near misses — again, per operations policy OP 10-10.24).

Our goal is to make Vanderbilt the safest hospital in America. Patient care safety and quality are a team effort and we rely on all team members to speak up clearly with any questions or concerns regarding safety and quality.

— Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., R.N., chief nursing officer