Strength and Vulnerability
(An exam question on safety culture) The operating theatre is minefield of egos, a tough place to be. It is full of driven people who are happy to use subtle or frank coercion to get their own way. ‘Below Ten Thousand’ is a social intelligence enabler that allows clinicians to sweep aside conflict and hierarchy in order to attain a safe operating environment at key and pivotal times. It is the height of professionalism and the height of good practice. In a dangerous environment, BTT can evoke feelings associated with a self-recognition of our own vulnerability. “People will think I’m weak if I call it.” Incorrect. We are trained to advocate on behalf of our patients. It’s what we do. In a high pressure high risk environment, BTT is merely recognition of the SYSTEM’S vulnerability. Being human, we might think it makes us appear weak. Being professional, calling it makes us, in fact, socially intelligent, proactive, safe and strong. Discuss.