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National Time Out Day

National Time Out Day

Today The Joint Commission and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses are celebrating National Time Out Day with a theme of “Be a Time Out SUPER HERO”

Support a safety culture
Use The Joint Commission’s Universal Protocol and AORN Surgical Checklist
Proactively reduce risk in the OR
Effect change in your organization
Reduce harm to patients

Have frank discussions about hazardous situations
Empower others to speak up when a patient is at-risk
Respect others on the surgical team
Openly seek opportunities for improving patient safety

In 1999 a landmark report was published by the Institute of Medicine bringing awareness to medical errors, such as wrong site and wrong person surgeries. Today, 17 years later, despite increased awareness, we are still seeing these types of errors occur, though they are greatly decreased.  The “Timeout” is a last line mechanism which addresses communication and ensures that the entire surgical team (from surgeon to nurse to anesthesiologist) is fully engaged. They should be aware of the procedure they are performing, the location and the person and every person on the team should feel empowered to speak up should they see something that could potentially cause harm to the patient.

As the majority of medical errors are not due to “bad people” but rather systems, processes and human factors, take some time today and review your policy and procedure regarding safe surgical practices. Pull in members of your surgical team also to ensure that the policy as written is being followed in practice and if not, figure out what the barriers are that resulted in a work-around being developed. And lastly, make certain your resources are up to date.