School of Nursing - Make a Gift

Archived news

Cardiovascular nursing expert discusses safety and patient-centered care

Posted: May 16, 2012

Dr. Sean Clarke was the featured speaker at the 2012 Laverne Gallman Lecture

Dr. Sean Clarke was the featured speaker at
the 2012 Laverne Gallman Lecture

Sean Clarke, RBC chair in Cardiovascular Nursing Research at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at Toronto General Hospital and deputy director of Nursing Health Services Research Unit, University of Toronto, Canada, had much to say about hospital safety and improved patient care at the 2012 Laverne Gallman Distinguished Lectureship in Nursing.

Borrowing from a quote by Margaret Atwood, an award-winning author and fellow Canadian, Clarke told his audience that when evaluating safety and patient care in hospitals “context is all.”

Today’s hospital context, he said, is determined by myriad and sometimes disparate health policies and regulations, managerial/executive decision-making, and what he described as “churn,” or a constant turnover of very sick patients. This state of affairs also explains why many health care professionals, especially nurses, are stressed and how mistakes can happen.

Beginning with the premise that injuries to both nurses and patients are more likely to occur within unfavorable organizational environments, Clarke described research showing that fewer mistakes are made in large, teaching and high-tech hospitals. What these three types of hospitals have in common are more baccalaureate-level nurses, greater levels of patient surveillance and accessible rapid response teams.

In order to get to safe, patient-centered care, Clarke said that management and human resources will need to ensure a better staff-to-patient ratio, a higher level of nursing training, and a care delivery model that includes better distribution of work and responsibility.

The Laverne Gallman Distinguished Lectureship in Nursing was established in 1985 to honor Dr. Gallman, professor emeritus of Nursing at The University of Texas School of Nursing.