For Surjeet Meelu, Interim Manager for the Pediatric Unit at Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH), patient-centred care has always been her passion. Since graduating as a Registered Nurse (RN) in 2000 she has been a strong advocate for patient safety, particularly as a key building block for achieving a strong and stable safety culture within our healthcare system.
Upon joining RCH just six months ago, Surjeet received orientation on BC PSLS from Tammy Simpson, Coordinator, Fraser Health. It wasn’t long before she was hooked! Recognizing an opportunity to use BC PSLS as a teaching tool to improve safety and patient care in her area, Surjeet began to review BC PSLS data on a regular basis and produce reports to share with the pediatric team.
“We created a designated space on the bulletin board in the staff lounge so patient safety trends are on display for staff,” says Surjeet. “Giving our staff access to this kind of information on a daily basis keeps patient safety at the forefront of our work and allows us to quickly identify any gaps in care that need our attention.”
Surjeet came to RCH with a diverse nursing background (medicine, surgery, nursing educator, utilization, acute access, patient access and flow) but pediatric care is a first for her. Already, her deep-rooted interest in patient safety is having a huge impact on the whole pediatric team at RCH, empowering the staff and helping them to feel comfortable with identifying and reporting any safety concerns.
“The data we’re collecting in BC PSLS is extremely important to me so we talk about it all the time,” Surjeet says. “Sharing what we learn with each other is the only way we can ensure our program is providing the safest care possible for our young patients and their families.”
Not only is Surjeet’s proactive approach to patient safety improving care on the Pediatric Unit at RCH, but she is using BC PSLS to communicate with other hospitals. For example, Surjeet remembers one young patient who was transferred to RCH from another hospital. Upon admission, RCH staff identified issues with safety, which were entered into BC PSLS. Surjeet used this information to contact the transferring hospital so the situation could be openly discussed among all the staff, facilitating cross-hospital learning and preventing a similar situation from happening in the future.
“That’s the real benefit of BC PSLS,” explains Surjeet. “It gives me talking points when I’m speaking with other clinical teams so we can discuss patient safety issues without any blame. These types of conversations are very important and help to address the real safety concerns that arise in healthcare–the complex systems issues that require collaboration on the part of everyone involved.”
Today, with support from Surjeet and Susan Lockhart, Director, the Pediatric Unit has established monthly Patient Safety Quality Meetings where the team talks about patient safety events reported into BC PSLS and other patient safety measures such as hand hygiene. “Our focus on patient safety at RCH is just the beginning! We plan to share what we learn regionally and develop strategies to mitigate system-wide issues.”
Congratulations to Surjeet and the entire pediatric team at RCH!
Royal Columbian Hospital’s Pediatric Unit cares for sick children in the Tri-Cities region who need a higher or more urgent level of care. Surjeet Meelu, RN, is Interim Manager. For more information about how she is promoting safety culture in pediatrics, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org