BC PSLS Coordinators

BC PSLS Coordinators at our recent “Shaping Our Future” workshop. (left to right) Elena Cernicka, Terri Aitken, Jyoti Ladhar, Andrew Hiob, Angela Jurj, Kirsten Thomson, and Tammy Simpson

There’s something special happening across BC Health Authorities and that’s the voices of BC PSLS Coordinators who tirelessly advocate for patient safety every day!  In fact, without them, our connection to healthcare providers across the province would be much more difficult. The Coordinators are our link into each and every healthcare organization in the province – from acute care to residential to community – so we felt it was time to recognize them and the important work they do.

There’s no question that BC PSLS Coordinators play a vital role.  But you may be wondering…how do they promote safer care across the province and how do they help healthcare providers to use BC PSLS? So we asked them! Here’s what some of them had to say about what they like best about their role, what some of their challenges are and what they want you to know:

“I’ve been in quality improvement in the healthcare system for almost ten years and I’ve always been fascinated by it,” says Terry Aitken, Coordinator, Vancouver Coastal Health. “As a frontline staff member working across the continuum of care to a self-proclaimed computer geek, what more could I ask for in a job! What’s challenging for me is the diversity of this role. While I love multi-tasking (and this job really expects that!), sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming when there are so many competing priorities. I always try to remind our staff that we can only fix what we know, so reporting even the most minor safety concerns in BC PSLS can help to fix a problem.”

“The best part of my my job is the great team I work with around the province and the uniqueness of what we do,” says Andrew Hiob, Coordinator, Interior Health. “I do sometimes wish safety events would be reviewed and moved to Final Approval in a more timely manner, but we’re getting there! What’s most important is that staff understand the value of reporting events in BC PSLS, following-up on events and closing the loop with Reporters.”

“My work is about contributing to a change in the culture, a change in people’s thinking,” says Elena Cernicka, Coordinator, Providence Health Care. “Being a part of this cultural shift and influencing its course over time is pretty awesome! I love the innovativeness and creativity that this role allows. One downside is the day-to-day administration work, which can sometimes take away from the more important patient safety work. But my message for people is to remember to report, report, report!  Data is precious when we have enough of it and it’s good quality.”

“The best part about my role is interacting with users, providing training and seeing the “AHA!” moment when they realize the benefits of BC PSLS,” says Angela Jurj, Coordinator, Island Health. What can be challenging is encouraging Handlers to follow-up within the designated timelines, but we’re making real progress in this area. All the Coordinators are very passionate about patient safety!  We want to show staff how to use BC PSLS to track and trend safety events and, more importantly, to prevent them from happening in the future.”

“I really like the diversity of my work, which includes meeting with and training a diverse group of healthcare staff – from frontline staff to Vice Presidents,” says Jyoti Ladhar, Coordinator, Provincial Health Services Authority.  “The technical component is also very interesting as is playing the role of change manager to leader.  The most challenging part is sometimes I’m not able to make decisions that will support better use of the system. But, there is immense learning attached to this role and I always try to remind people that by using BC PSLS they are playing a very important role in improving patient safety.”

Wow! As you can see, this is an enthusiastic and proud group of safety champions.  Not only do they promote the benefits of BC PSLS across the province, they strive to help healthcare providers learn how to use BC PSLS most effectively and ensure they have a good experience when using the system, and that’s not a small task!

In addition to those recognized above, we’d like to share two other special acknowledgements, first to Kirsten Thomson, Regional Manager, Risk Management, Northern Health. Kirsten wears many hats at Northern Health including BC PSLS Coordinator and Director. She is Northern Health’s representative on the provincial Patient Safety / Risk Management Leaders Committee.  And to Tammy Simpson, Coordinator, Fraser Health and Safety Superhero! Tammy’s endless energy has helped to bring patient safety to the forefront across Fraser Health. She was also recently quoted in our blog story “Getting pushy with publications.”

On November 22, all Coordinators participated in the “BC PSLS: Shaping Our Future” workshop to help develop key strategic directions for BC PSLS over the next five years. Other participants included leaders of patient safety and risk management from all Health Authorities, BC Patient Safety & Quality Council, BC Ministry of Health and our Central Office team. This day provided us the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with our Coordinators and other provincial colleagues and we found the experience energizing and inspiring. Feedback from all participants will be incorporated into our strategic planning.

Thank you, BC PSLS Coordinators, for all you do to spread the patient safety message in your Health Authority. We couldn’t do what we do without your help and support!

If you have questions about BC PSLS or need help using the system, please contact the BC PSLS Coordinator in your Health Authority.

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