Document and debrief.
Article Type: Letter to the editor
Author: Todd, Philippa
Pub Date: 10/01/2009
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Oct, 2009 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 9
Accession Number: 210919878
Full Text: I would Like to share an experience I have been through in the hope it will help others.


I had been at my workplace for three years when I transferred between departments. Soon after reaching this new department, I suffered a hand injury, which meant I could not scrub for operations until the wound had healed. I had an informal preceptor who was friendly, but unfortunately the rest of the team made little effort to welcome me. I found their professionalism and civility somewhat Lacking. I persevered for-more than a year because I Liked the work but many other people Left, because of one person's attitude in particular.

One of my first scrubs for an operation was under the direction of my preceptor. During the course of the operation, emergency alarms failed and the operation progressed to an unplanned outcome. This event was acknowledged by senior staff, who witnessed the event. Afterwards, I was not consulted or debriefed about the incident. I would have appreciated knowing how the patient fared after the adverse event.

Ten months later, I filed a green occupational health and safety (Accident Compensation Corporation) form, as the earlier confused and inaccurate hospital incident report form I had filed had not been corrected. Embarrassingly, in my confusion, I had documented auditory fire bells going off, rather than emergency alarms.

Looking back, documentation was at best minimal and there were discrepancies as to the location and other minor information between statements. It is vital to document as soon as possible when something out of the ordinary happens.

Later that year I was referred to counselling under the employee assistance programme, but was not given a full explanation as to why I had been referred. I must, at times, have seemed distrustful, distracted, even forgetful, all of which are classic symptoms of depression. I believe absolutely that, had I instantly discussed and reported the event, my bosses and other staff would have been happier with my practice. Also, I would not have internalised and dwelt on the event. The event clearly should have been reported because it was an adverse event. A "let's report this together" approach is far better than losing your job and having some insinuate that you are crazy!

I was offered a new job and, on advice from other health professionals, I took the opportunity to work in a positive new environment. It has been the most wonderful opportunity--the people are amazing and they all have fantastic attitudes.

I also want to express my appreciation to NZNO who supported me step-by-step through this entire process. NZNO delegates and staff are there to listen to you and talk for you, when you can't. Believe me, sometimes it's great to have people you can trust there for you.

Philippa Todd, RN, Auckland
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.