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Give us an example of what you've done to enhance patient safety

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hello Jiselle,

I am sorry that your question has not been answered! I am a registered nurse and have worked with many physician's assistants. As healthcare providers, the best example of how to enhance patient safety is this: the ability to listen and assess patients with all of your senses. This means for the physician assistant that they are highly skilled in taking an excellent history and physical and performing a thorough physical exam.

As a registered nurse, I also assess, but do not perform a head to toe physical exam. But the same abilities would apply to my practice.
You might be interested in my specialty which is oncology clinical trials. The most important aspect of my job was to capture every single sign and symptom the patients experienced while undergoing treatment with new cancer therapies. I then would report these symptoms to the proper reporting agencies, including the FDA. I saw patient safety as the crux of my daily activity. If I didn't listen or assess properly, new drug reactions might have been missed which, after the drug was approved, could lead to untold harm towards other patients.
Here is an article that you may enjoy:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3903046/

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Best,
Sue

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Annan’s Answer

Hi Jiselle,

I agree with Suzanne that listening and examining the patient to the best of your abilities is an excellent way to ensure patient safety. As of now I am still a student, but going through my clinical rotations I have observed and been part of teams taking care of patients and ensuring their safety. What I have experienced is that ensuring patient safety is a complicated and difficult task, as illness and health are multifaceted and intertwined with so many other factors outside of a persons physical being. I think the best way to ensure safety is to trust your gut and follow protocols set up to ensure patient safety. I can think of one time when a patient came in with pneumonia that had not resolved after taking their prescribed course of antibiotics. What was taught in school, was to try new antibiotics and get another repeat x-ray. What was shown in the x-ray was that the infection had spread outside the lungs into the space in-between the lungs and the sac surrounding them, and the patient needed to go to the hospital ASAP to have that treated. Had protocol not been followed this patient would have ended up in a bad spot.

That is just one simple answer: that treatment protocols and algorithms are there for a reason and best to be followed.

Health though does not always fall into these nicely arranged categories and this is where using your judgement, colleagues and training is key. Having colleagues in different specialties is great for quick consult on a case as well as picking their brains as to what they might do in a situation. Judgement is another factor you may rely heavily on as a patient may not always fully communicate with you as to what is going on. Finally, ensuring follow up with a patient is the best way to continue to track their progress and health and sometimes for someone you are more concerned about, you may have them follow up with you more frequently than others.

There is a lot to patient safety, and it is an important part of patient care. I hope this helped and wasn't too long.

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