Outcomes of SEA
SEA then provides a
systematic approach for multi-professional teams to learn from experience, both
good and bad, in order to improve the quality of patient care.
One or more of the following five actions can
result from the discussion of an individual incident.
Traditionally the health service has not concerned itself with
identifying or acknowledging achievement: certainly the NHS workplace has
provided few arenas for the celebration of individual or team success.
Paradoxically, some of the best practice may often be found in
adverse circumstances. So in
SEA team members may bring up incidents in which they felt their performance
may not have been ideal, only to learn after discussion with colleagues that
the episode showed personal achievement, as well as producing learning
points for all.
Highlighting an incident may show that something has to be put right
straight away. The team sees
the need, agrees to act and the situation is corrected.
Audit. A specific episode
with one patient can raise the question as to whether this might be the case
for one or more others. The
group may decide to commission an audit, to clarify the situation, which can
in due course itself lead to changes and improvement in practice.
Perhaps an incident raises questions, which call for further
consideration. More facts are
needed, other people may need to be involved, even a patient contacted –
the group may feel that learning and improving in this case is best achieved
by asking one or more of the team to pursue these matters and report back
with suggestions at the next meeting.
Action. There are times
when experiences can be usefully expressed, but no specific action needs to
be taken. Sometimes these
occasions can be especially important, representing as they do examples of
team members’ frustration – “Life’s like that”… Providing a safe
environment for listening and sharing has been shown to be a much-valued
benefit of SEA.
So SEA enhances the quality of care directly by providing a forum for learning
from the team’s experiences, through its constituent individual members.
Risk management can be addressed through immediate action, improvements
initiated, enquiries set up, and relevant topics for conventional audit
At the same time, SEA provides an opportunity to
team build, or to strengthen existing teams. Working together on quality
improvement generates mutual understanding and an atmosphere of trust, which can
itself begin to create a setting in which delicate areas such as the exploration
of deficiencies in performance can take place.
All of which all adds up to good reasons to try