Raise the bar; a strategy to facilitate optimal patient safety through staff self-care

Mrs Louise Veitch1

1Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, Bruce, Australia

The Emergency Department is a dynamic, high tempo and challenging healthcare setting, presenting obstacles and opportunities that can influence patient safety through communication, leadership and workplace culture.

Introducing a distinctive evidenced-based initiative into the Emergency Department at Calvary Bruce Public Hospital aims ultimately to improve patient safety by utilising multimodal clinical education, accompanied by an uptake of accountability and self-awareness from all levels of nursing staff, precipitated uniquely through increased engagement of self-care amongst nursing staff.

From the commencement of an undergraduate nursing degree, students are taught to approach patients and patient care in a holistic manner; it makes sense then that nurses be encouraged to look after themselves and each other in the same manner. Self-awareness enables the identification and discussion of barriers and enablers to practice change and when combined with self-care, leadership and communication training, organisational culture and patient safety improve.

When staff have a voice, in addition to feeling valued and appreciated, an improved workplace performance is inevitable. Raise the Bar is an initiative that enables staff of all levels and experience to be actively involved in quality improvement within the Emergency Department and celebrates the differing perspectives, expertise, backgrounds and dynamics of staff in a respectful and genuine manner, leaving no room for the ‘eat your young’ mentality.

It is known that patient safety has three primary contributors; leadership, communication and organisational culture and by engaging staff on these contributors, improvement across all areas will be seen. As staff become further engaged, a prospect will exist to optimise patient safety and workplace culture through teaching and learning opportunities both horizontally and vertically within the Emergency Department hierarchy. The increased engagement of clinical education will result in optimal patient safety as the link between learning strategy and self-efficacy is established.


Louise is an Emergency Nurse and member of the MET, Advanced Practice Nursing and Clinical Manager teams at Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, and has a particular interest in workplace culture, patient safety and quality improvement in the Emergency Department. Louise is has completed a Master of Clinical Nursing (Emergency) through the University of Tasmania and is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Education through Australian Catholic University.