Article Content

Communication and teamwork are the foundation for patient safety and positive health care outcomes. However, poor communication, incivility, and lack of interprofessional respect are still cited by nurses as major work stressors that impact nursing decisions and patient safety. To create a more positive health culture, the US Defense Department and the Agency for Health Care Research created TeamSTEPPS. The STEPPS stands for "Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety." The nursing faculty in our community college used the information and videos from the TeamSTEPPS Web site to create 5 online modules. First year students in the associate degree program view the modules and submit online responses to questions about their views on communication, teamwork, mutual support, and patient advocacy. The videos range from broad introductions on communication and teamwork to specific strategies for dealing with conflict and safety issues. Specific tools included using the "Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation" for safe patient handoffs, invoking the "Concerned, Uncomfortable, Safety Issue" to convey concern for patient safety, doing a callout to verify critical information, and taking a huddle to manage stressful patient care situations. What was the nursing students' reaction to the TeamSTEPPS content? Did they consider it more busy work or relevant, practical knowledge? In surveys, students were asked whether they would use TeamSTEPPS skills and strategies in clinical settings. The 100% affirmative response from 70 students demonstrated that students value this content and indicate that they will use TeamSTEPPS to advocate for patient safety.


By Elizabeth L. Pettit, MSN, RN, Nursing Instructor, Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN (mailto:[email protected]).