Making Patient Safety Stick: Innovative Techniques From AORN 2024


During AORN's 2024 conference, Michael Sinnott, MBBS, FACEM, FRACP, shared insights on enhancing safety education's impact. Learn how to engage audiences and ensure lasting lessons in health care instruction.

Ensuring patient safety is just as essential as maintaining staff safety in health care. However, health care instructors often struggle with how to make their lessons memorable and impactful. During the AORN International Surgical Conference & Expo in 2024, Michael Sinnott, MBBS, FACEM, FRACP, gave an interesting presentation on this topic.

Infection Control Today® (ICT®) spoke with Michael Sinnott, MBBS, FACEM, FRACP, cofounder, academic associate professor at The School of Medicine, University of Queensland; and adjunct associate professor of the Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, at the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses’s (AORN’s) International Surgical Conference & Expo 2024.

Sinnott spoke on his presentation, “Stop the Snooze: Improve Technologies and Techniques for Making Safety Education Stick.”

As the title suggests, Sinnott explained key theories of adult education used to make education more interesting and engaging, ensure that the key messages stick longer, and are put into practice.

Patient Safety is Infection Control Today's March Trending Topic

Patient Safety is Infection Control Today's March Trending Topic

“We're doing it almost as a live workshop,” Sinnott told ICT. “So, the four stages for designing and delivering an education session are, first of all, creating buy-in. Secondly, integrating interactivity. Third, encouraging collaboration. And lastly, including a competition. Our session will go through each of those 4 stages in the background while we present the information and carry out a [what is] really a short workshop where we will divide the audience into 4 [parts] and ask each of the 4 sections of the audience to come up with at least one way in which they're ascribed stage can be applied.”

Sinnott and his team hope that “the audience will take away some new knowledge and a new structure for designing their own education session. So, we believe that, during the talk, with this structure, they will be able to put their own uniqueness and individuality into creating those 4 different steps.”

Then ICT asked why Sinnott, who is from Australia, would come clear to Nashville to speak.

“There are 2 reasons. First of all, AORN is probably the largest and most influential professional group for perioperative nurses in the world. …[The] second main reason I'm here [is] that is because my colleagues [and I] all believe that we can't develop a good culture for patient safety if we don't have a good culture for staff safety. And we've been trying to put that message out there for probably 10 or 15 years. But it became much more obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic, where we saw that staff members who were sick, some even died.”

ICT’s senior editor attended the session, and the audience's reaction was overwhelmingly positive. After discussion and collaboration on how to improve their assigned topic, a speaker from each section went to the microphone and told the rest of the session what their group had decided.

“Excellent idea!” one audience member said aloud in response to one of the suggestions. Then, in a simple yet positive move to remind the attendees of Sinnott’s presentation, his assistants gave out chocolate candies as they left the room.

The conference ran from Saturday, March 9, to Tuesday, March 12, 2024. For all ICT’s coverage, go here.

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