New Hampshire Hospital Uses TeamSTEPPS® Every Day
About 400 staff members at Exeter Hospital in Exeter, New Hampshire, had been trained in AHRQ's TeamSTEPPS by the end of 2015. TeamSTEPPS, a patient safety training program developed by AHRQ and the Department of Defense, is an evidence-based system that improves communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals.
"TeamSTEPPS is an important part of our nursing excellence designation. It's also part of our simulation program and entire organizational philosophy at Exeter. It just makes sense," said Mike Nickerson, D.N.P., A.P.R.N.-B.C., professional development specialist.
The hospital began training its staff in TeamSTEPPs in 2011. It typically trains about 100 employees a year.
"The original idea to use TeamSTEPPS came from a colleague in the quality department," noted Dr. Nickerson. "Most of our departments have been through the training now." The hospital has also incorporated TeamSTEPPS into staff training for Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.
But training wasn't enough. The education department also saw a need to maintain the staff's skills after initial training was completed. They found that if the staff didn't use the TeamSTEPPS concepts in their everyday work, the training wasn't as effective.
Hospital staff members have responded positively to both the language and principles of TeamSTEPPS. Both are used daily, Dr. Nickerson said. The training is also part of everyday language in the education department. "We model it when teaching and talking to staff," he explained. "TeamSTEPPS is always part of our objectives in simulation training and educational activities."
Dr. Nickerson continued, "The TeamSTEPPS message—'You have a voice. Use it!'—is powerful."
After simulation training, the hospital's TeamSTEPPS instructors complete a behavioral observation checklist. That checklist, plus a critical action checklist, is part of the hospital's post-simulation debriefing with the staff. "We use the results of those checklists and debriefings to plan future simulations," Dr. Nickerson explained.