Department chiefs and program directors are essential to developing an environment in which trainees feel comfortable speaking up. It rests on the shoulders of senior staff to do away with any lingering belief in the traditional adage a senior surgeon might share with a junior resident, “Call me anytime, but remember, it is a sign of weakness.”
Explore this issue:April 2017
In a recent editorial, Douglass Smink, MD, MPH, and John T. Mullen, MD, both with the department of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, recommended that all surgical educators incorporate escalation-of-care training into the curriculum for junior trainees, not only because they say it is quality education, but also because the training has a high likelihood of improving patient care and safety (Ann Surg. 2016;263:427). Drs. Smink and Mullen said that escalation of care, like many other non-technical skills, is an essential skill that can be taught and improved, and should be included in the curriculum for all junior physicians. They urged senior physicians to provide support to residents so that speaking up in the name of patient safety is both encouraged and expected.
Kurt Ullman is a freelance medical writer based in Indiana.