Patient Safety Champion: For patient safety coordinator Lisa Sampson, ‘quality means doing it right when nobody is looking’

Lisa Sampson is a patient safety coordinator at South Shore Regional Hospital.
Lisa Sampson is a patient safety coordinator at South Shore Regional Hospital.

Accreditation is over, but Lisa Sampson’s work is far from finished.

Sampson is a patient safety coordinator at South Shore Regional Hospital. She provides ongoing coordination, support and leadership to ensure safety always comes as second nature to staff, a deeply embedded into culture and routine part of what is done each and every day.
“My thought is that as a patient, we would expect to receive the safest care possible,” Sampson said. “It’s not an add-on or an extra; it’s the way care is delivered.”

During the Accreditation Canada process, Sampson provided support as an accreditation coordinator for Nova Scotia Health Authority’s western zone, but it’s a role that continues long after the national surveyors are gone.

Nancy McLaughlin, pharmacy services director for NSHA’s western zone, nominated Sampson as a Patient Safety Champion for her work during and beyond accreditation.

“Lisa provided excellent guidance and leadership through the accreditation cycle, reminding us that our work isn't just to check a box –it’s to enhance patient safety,” McLaughlin said.

“Beyond accreditation, she provides excellent leadership in the day to day work of constant quality improvement,” McLaughlin added. “She always brings it back to the patient.”

Sampson explained that it’s not about “meeting accreditation standards because the surveyors are coming tomorrow.”

In fact, “we are working on meeting accreditation standards because the patients are here today,” said Sampson, who has posted this as a quote on her office wall and added it to all meeting minutes and agendas.

“It’s a visible, day to day reminder that this is not about getting ready for the survey,” she said. “It’s about the patients every day.”

Sampson’s focus is on keeping the momentum going in the work that we do every day. 

“Quality means doing it right when nobody is looking,” is another motivator Sampson regularly applies to her work, a quote originally attributed to American entrepreneur Henry Ford.

“In order to keep these standards going we need to constantly address them in many different ways,” Sampson said. “It becomes bigger than the standard. We look to data, quality improvements; asking ourselves, what are teams doing to improve the care of our patients?”

Additionally, she explained, “it’s looking and making sure we are checking in to see if we are moving the mark, constantly revisiting standards and reviewing what can contribute to safety.”

For example, the Western Zone Quality Improvement and Safety Council has participated in an Atlantic province collaborative with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI).

“We recognized pressure injuries as an area of improvement opportunity,” Sampson said. “One of the recommendations included patient rounding to help ensure they are moving, changing positions and meeting (their) needs to prevent pressure injuries.”

The collaborative working group includes patient and family advisors who offer great value to quality and safety improvement.

“They work with us side by side on how best to implement, enhance and increase the effectiveness of purposeful bedside rounding,” Sampson said. “We expect to see improvements in patient outcomes such as pressure injuries, falls injuries, call bell usage, (as well as) patient and staff satisfaction.”

“There is great work happening and it’s powerful,” Sampson said.

“There are lots of people who do great work every day. We must continue to make a difference for the patient.”