Seeing the Forest

I’m currently working on the re-mount of a project about patient safety culture in hospitals; this is a project I initially worked on in 2007 with researchers from York’s Faculty of Health, namely Drs Gail Mitchell, Deborah Tregunno and Liane Ginsberg.  The team was so inspired by the project and process, they wanted to re-work the play and present it at several hospitals during patient safety week in early November of 2010.  The new title of the script is “Seeing the Forest” and the play focuses more clearly on the importance of communicating among interdisciplinary team members to draw out potential problems and issues before they manifest themselves as safety hazards for patients.  The team wants to acknowledge the importance of systems and check lists already in place for patient safety, but also wants to stress the importance of going beyond these measures; to encourage health professionals not to rely on or assume the system will catch potential problems.  But to use creativity and problem solving and clear communication to assess each situation as a unique thing; not to get caught up in ones own track but to “see the forest from the trees.”

We are using the story of Heather as our frame to explore these ideas; we watch a patient, encouraged by health professionals to engage closely in her own health care, trying to bring concerns to light, only to have her health care providers so caught up in their own track, unyielding on their path, to lose sight of what is really in front of them: a specific patient with specific needs.

We have a fantastic creative team on board: director LJ Nelles and actors Sarah Machin Gale, Melina Nacos, Tim Machin and Mark Prince.  I will be lingering around rehearsals too as writer/producer, although not in full swing because of the birth of my second child at the end of August.  I’m sure everyone will be deeply disappointed when I bring her to rehearsal.

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