Patient Safety/Clinical Care

Patient Safety Guidelines Worth Repeating

Maintaining optimal patient safety is an ongoing process requiring frequent repetition of rules and best practices. One mode of communication is posting fliers outlining patient safety activities for staff. Here is one to use that contains some general recommendations as well as specific nursing guidelines for what to do and what not to do.

Special skills require practice and wherewithal, both individually and with colleagues, to learn to work as a team. Here are some of skills guidelines worth repeating:

DO      (Nursing)                                                                                                                               

  • Trace lines to ensure correct tubing connections
  • Question when more than 3 vials/pills of medications are released for administration
  • Reassess patients every shift for falls and elopement risk
  • Review patient’s H & P before procedures/surgery
  • When accepting critical test results and values over the phone:
  1. Ensure that you have the right patient (MR#, name, date of birth, NOT Room #) then
  2. Read back the critical test result to the person who gave it to you
  3. Ensure that appropriate actions are taken on behalf of your patient in a timely matter
  4. Document

DO NOT (Nursing)

Don’t – Heat patient care items in microwaves

Don’t – Silence alarms (we need to know when there is a problem)

Don’t – Use warmed IV fluid bags to position patients


DO (General)

  • Raise the red flag when something does not feel right or is not correct
  • Always Use STAR: Stop, Think, Act and Review
  • Use Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendations (SBAR) as a structured method for communications

DO NOT (General)

Don’t – Haphazardly piecemeal equipment  together. Take it out of service if a device is not functioning correctly.


For more than two decades, Heidi Harrison, CPHRM, has been a risk manager at Inova Health System, which serves more than two million people each year from throughout the Washington, DC metro area and beyond. Currently, she is also the chair of the ASHRM Forum Task Force, leading the team that writes, acquires and edits the submissions to share in the Forum.

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