Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 18(2) May 2005 : 39-55.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2005.17183

Patient Safety: Is It Just Another Bandwagon?

Janet L. Storch


In this paper, the author questions the focus of the patient safety movement, speculating that it might be just another "bandwagon" that health executives and some health professionals are eager to join. The history of this current emphasis on patient safety is briefly sketched, including current activities in Canada, and questions are raised about whether the movement aids or avoids pressing healthcare issues, many of which are supported by good evidence. These include the relationship between nursing staffing and patient outcomes, the way in which a "cult of efficiency" has operated to make errors more likely and how the silencing of nurses and other staff leads to error. Whether or not one considers the current focus on patient safety a bandwagon, it is important to reflect critically upon the activities undertaken to address the issue and to determine whether one should jump on this bandwagon.



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