Ideas That Work: Fun-Raising Thermometer Improves Patient Safety

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Members of perioperative teams must remember complex protocols — and know how to apply them in practice. McDonnell Outpatient Surgery Center at Piedmont Atlanta is part of a health system-wide safety program that requires staff to memorize numerous new initiatives. Shirley Lewis, BSN, RN, clinical manager of the facility, created and hung a thermometer chart in a high-traffic common area to reward staff for their commitment to providing safe surgical care. When a staff member recites error prevention protocols from memory, they add their name to the thermometer. The team earns rewards as the names add up and the thermometer reaches certain pre-marked levels. “When it’s three-quarters full, they’ll get donuts or ice cream,” says Ms. Lewis. “When the whole thing fills up, the entire surgical department will get a free lunch.”

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