Medical Education Research: The Effects of Power, Leadership and Psychological Safety on Resident Event Reporting
Recently on Med Ed Conversations I saw an interesting research article supported by the ASME entitled “The effects of power, leadership and psychological safety on resident event reporting” by Nital P Appelbaum et all. The paper suggests that “Although the reporting of adverse events is a necessary first step in identifying and addressing lapses in patient safety, such events are under-reported, especially by frontline providers such as resident physicians.” The research attempted to describe and test relationships between power distance and leader inclusiveness on psychological safety and the willingness of residents to report adverse events.
A total of 106 resident physicians from the departments of neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, emergency medicine, otolaryngology, neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and general surgery in a mid-Atlantic teaching hospital were asked to complete a survey on psychological safety, perceived power distance, leader inclusiveness and intention to report adverse events.
Psychological safety was found to be a predictor of intention to report adverse events. Perceived power distance and leader inclusiveness both influenced the reporting of adverse events through the concept of psychological safety. Because adverse event reporting is shaped by relationships and culture external to the individual, it should be viewed as an organisational as much as a personal function. Supervisors and other leaders in health care should ensure that policies, procedures and leadership practices build psychological safety and minimise power distance between low- and high-status members in order to support greater reporting of adverse events.
How can simulation better create a culture of psychological safety for medical and other healthcare personnel? Simulation is a perfect place to safely practice creating learning behaviors.
Lance Baily, BA, EMT-B, is the Founder & CEO of HealthySimulation.com, which he started while serving as the Director of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas back in 2010. Lance is also the Founder and acting Advisor to the Board of SimGHOSTS.org, the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated to supporting professionals operating healthcare simulation technologies. His new co-edited Book: “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” is available now. Lance’s background also includes serving as a Simulation Technology Specialist for the LA Community College District, EMS fire fighting, Hollywood movie production, rescue diving, and global travel. He lives with his wife Abigail in Las Vegas, Nevada.