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Cultivating patient safety culture in midwifery practices through incident reporting

02 July 2024
Volume 32 · Issue 7


This article explores the critical role of incident reporting in enhancing women's safety in midwifery care. Given the inherently dynamic, and often unpredictable, nature of pregnancy and childbirth, midwives are frequently tasked with navigating complex clinical and emotional scenarios. As women place high expectations on midwives for safe and quality care, incident reporting serves as a vital mechanism for ongoing improvement and learning. The discussion highlights the barriers inhibiting effective incident reporting, including fear of reprisal and blame, lack of understanding of incident reporting and perceived futility. By overcoming these barriers, incident reporting not only identifies and rectifies safety concerns but also acts as a catalyst for cultivating a positive safety culture in midwifery.

Incident reporting has gained significant importance in healthcare organisations, emerging as a pivotal policy measure (Lee et al, 2018). The incident report serves as a repository of unexpected events, near misses, clinical adverse events, instances of violence or aggression and safety issues. It relies on healthcare professionals to document and reflect on incidents, providing a narrative that captures the sequence of events and their insights into the causes, irrespective of whether they directly observed the incident (Sanne, 2008; Kodate et al, 2022). These reports are invaluable at the community level for developing strategies to reduce harm and, nationally, help identify systemic issues that may otherwise be overlooked (Carson-Stevens et al, 2016).

‘First, do no harm’ stands as the cornerstone principle of every healthcare service (World Health Organization, 2023). Patient safety is not a regional concern, but a worldwide priority that permeates all divisions of the healthcare system, with the goal to diminish patient harm in the delivery of healthcare services (Albaalharith and A'aqoulah, 2023). This conviction transforms patient safety from a theoretical idea into a practical necessity.

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