- provides a space devoted to the conceptual framework known as Hodges' model. Read about this tool that can help integrate HEALTH, SOCIAL CARE, INFORMATICS and EDUCATION. The model can facilitate PERSON-CENTREDNESS, CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT, HOLISTIC CARE and REFLECTION. Follow the development of a new website using Drupal (it might happen one day!!). See our bibliography, posts since 2006 and if interested please get in touch [@h2cm OR h2cmng AT yahoo.co.uk]. Welcome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NT: Nurses urged to use checklists to reduce human error in practice

Last month Nursing Times included an item on checklists, highlighting work by the WHO in perioperative nursing and the Patient Safety First campaign. Following surgery's lead is the realisation that similar checklists have the potential to improve communication and team working in other areas such as nutrition, situational awareness and pressure ulcer care.

Checklists are ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives, the dividend for using them is fairly obvious. What is less obvious is the fact that checklists alone are dead bureaucratic adornments. Checklists are animated by situations and thinking, reflective individuals in those situations. As Lomas reports there is a need to stop at an agreed key point in the patient pathway and ask the critical - checklist - questions. In team work this co-ordinated acknowledgement to complexity is essential for comprehensive, consistent and safe care.

What is interesting here is the emphasis on human factors. While checklists undoubtedly have a demonstrated - proven - role to play in safety, situational awareness is not a product of checklists alone. There is a need for learning and for the cultivation of cognitive lists. While human memory is fallibility incarnate - hence the role for checklists - there is also the need for skilled, knowledgeable professionals with the required communication and observational skills. The need for nurses to further develop observational skills has also been highlighted over recent months.

So as checklists are checked and logged: prepare a space for the mental checklist that is Hodges' model. The model is situated, person-centered and one of the original purposes was to help bridge the theory - practice gap. Try doing that with a checklist: alone

Clare Lomas Safety checklists could cut 'human error' in clinical practice, Nursing Times, 106, 3, 26 January 2010, p.2.

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