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What's Wrong With This Picture?

Nurses participate in HUP's Patient Safety Unit, working to identify simulated medical errors.

Continuing coverage of Patient Safety Awareness Week

6ABC came out to take a peek at our interactive Nursing Patient Safety Unit this week. It's a simulation set up to highlight common hospital safety issues and errors, sort of like the medical error version of the "What's Wrong?" pictures on the back of Highlights magazine for kids. The unit, which is populated by three mannequins -- one a new mom and baby in an obstetrical scenario, one in an operating room setup, and one in a standard patient room -- is filled with safety problems. There's used needles and bloody gauze (all fake, of course) left out in the open, unlabeled medications , cords snaking across the floor, expired drugs, IV pumps that aren't set up properly, and patient confidentiality violations, among other problems. Some of the issues are plain to see even for lay visitors -- a newborn "baby" lying on top of a medication cart, for instance -- while others take the trained eye of the seasoned nursing staff passing through the unit, who fill out a worksheet documenting all the errors they can spot as they pass through the unit.

This mock patient safety unit -- which generated lots of discussion among the dozens of nurses who came to see it -- is one of many ways we're working to engage our staff in keeping hospital safety and quality issue at the top of our staff's collective mind.

But because we want to make sure our patients are our partners in safe care, it also offers lessons for the public. In the 6ABC story, Dr. Jennifer Myers, a hospitalist physician and HUP's Patient Safety Officer, shared her tips for how patients can speak up and work with their doctors, nurses and other hospital staff to meet this goal. Among her tips? Ask your providers if they've washed their hands before they interview or examine you, and always check to make sure your provider is aware of any tests or procedures you're about to have. Watch the segment to take a tour through the Nursing Patient Safety Unit (our portion of the segment begins at :46):


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