“I am challenging all of you to change,” said Deena Brecher, MSN, RN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, CPEN, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware, as she addressed more than 700 delegates and emergency nurses during General Assembly at the Emergency Nurses Association Annual Conference in Nashville, TN in Sept. 2013. Brecher is the 2013 President Elect of the Emergency Nurses Association (www.ena.org), a global 40,000-member professional organization, based in Des Plaines, Illinois, that advocates for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing practice. Founded in 1970, the ENA is the only professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through education, advocacy, expertise, innovation and leadership.
In a compelling address to ENA members, Brecher urged peers to take personal responsibility for fostering a culture of safety within Emergency Departments. “Until we are not afraid to give and receive feedback from any team member, regardless of their role, we will not make a dent in the epidemic of errors in our healthcare system,” said Brecher. Approximately 98,000 hospitalized patients each year are killed by medical errors and mistakes.
Brecher spoke candidly about a dosage error she and her team members made several years ago. Though the patient had no negative effects, Brecher stressed that medical errors can and do happen. “It’s the big secret we don’t like to talk about. It’s time we started talking about it,” she said, “We need to admit when we make a mistake and report near-misses,” enabling healthcare workers to learn from each other, identify potential errors and ultimately prevent them from happening.
Brecher shared her vision for embracing a culture of safety for all Emergency nurses, “Close your eyes and picture a loved one in your emergency department,” she said, “I want it not to matter who is working that day, but that any day 24/7, you know your loved one is in the safest place in the world of healthcare.”