Staff safety stories

In the aftermath of a patient safety incident staff often experience intense emotions and vulnerability. They may have strong feelings of guilt, shame, anger, embarrassment, humiliation, isolation, depression, and loss of confidence. Many staff feels personally responsible for the outcome and believe they’ve failed the patient. Unless addressed, their emotional distress can take a high professional and personal toll and can alter, or even end, the staff member’s career.

Alternately there may be occasions, not resulting in an incident, where staff proactively identify an opportunity to improve the safety of services for patients and staff.  

The following stories have been shared by staff to provide services with an insight into their experiences so that services can learn and improve.

The deteriorating patient: staff patient safety story

This is the story of Caroline; a staff nurse who was caring for a woman who was at risk of deterioration. Caroline monitored the woman throughout her shift and called the clinical team to assess the patient. Caroline finished her shift and on her return to duty, the following day was informed the patient had died. This is Caroline’s story of the event, its aftermath and the impact on her. Read Caroline's story.

Death of a patient in an overcrowded A&E department: staff patient safety story

This is Sean’s story; he was a Nurse Manager in an A&E Department. This is his story on what happened on that shift and the impact of this on him. Read Sean’s story.

Paediatric medication error: staff patient safety story

This is Barry’s story where he explains the impact a medication error on a paediatric patient had upon him.  Barry administered correct mediation via the wrong route to a paediatric patient. This resulted in the baby suffering a cardiac arrest which was successfully responded to. In this video, Barry explains what happened and the impact, this had on him. 

Junior Doctor Medication error: staff patient safety story

John was a newly qualified doctor working on a surgical team. He was asked to prescribe the first dose of a drug that was infrequently used. John wasn’t confident about administering this drug and didn’t feel comfortable to ask his peers or the staff on the ward for help. He administered the drug in a higher concentration than it should have been.  Apart from the personal impact, this had on him John felt the lack of openness both within the team and with the family meant there was no learning from this event.