Background Many healthcare institutions have reporting systems in place for when things go wrong as a mechanism to learn from our failures and improve patient safety. However, studies report limitations with this practice. Other studies have shown that nurturing positivity in individuals and teams improves resilience whilst staff morale has been found to have a strong relationship with patient experience.
Objectives The aim was to encourage all staff working in the Department of Paediatrics to recognise and report when things go well, for individuals to reflect on these experiences and for the department to learn from these positive events.
Methods The Positive Event Reporting initiative offers the opportunity for anyone working in the department to nominate any member of staff for excellence in practice using an online form or a paper form. There are no limitations to what may be reported as excellent practice and the initiative is promoted via posters around the department, through social media, email canvassing and individual conversations. Each nominee receives a STAR award, a certificate acknowledging their nomination, with suggested appreciative enquiry questions for their reflection.
A small multidisciplinary team of front-line clinical staff champion the initiative on a volunteer basis, reviewing all reports for themes, creating the award certificates as well as the monthly summaries of learning points and themes which are shared with the whole department through e-newsletters and posters on social media groups.
Results Benefits are experienced in the following areas
The reported individuals have the opportunity to reflect and learn from their practice and the awards provide evidence of practice for portfolios
The STAR awards include details of why they were nominated and are kept private to recipients as this has been found to avoid a competitive toxic environment.
The nominators identify the good practice which they report and help to shift focus towards recognising positive events cultivating a positive culture in the department.
The whole department learns from these experiences and other staff can model their practice
Staff and management teams have welcomed the initiative. Initial survey results are indicative of increased learning from positive events as well as improved morale among recipients whose excellent practice has been recognised. A steady rise in reports has also been demonstrated over time.
Conclusions Learning from positive events boosts staff morale which in turn can improve the patient experience whilst improving the work culture of a department. Staff have welcomed this initiative which is a positive agent for change and plans are to roll out the initiative to the wider trust. The main administrative challenge is reviewing reports and typing out awards. This is becoming more streamlined through the use of mainly online reporting forms with room for further improvement.
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