Mike, the laboratory technician, has run into a critical situation, where a fast decision can affect his future job. Due to constant being late, his supervisor has made Mike choose either to be on time or to face termination. Despite Mike’s hard efforts to come on time, there were complications on his way to work that made him almost late. To add to the seriousness of the situation, Mike is the only breadwinner at home, as his wife takes care of the newborn baby. Therefore, losing his job can be critical for Mike.
As Mike arrives at his workplace, he sees a large spill on the floor. Hence, he has two options: to report the spill and be late or to clock in and report the spill afterwards. According to the severity of Mike’s situation and his promise to the supervisor not to be late, he is most likely to clock in first. He will act upon impulse, not critical reasoning. He will find excuses not to report the spill in the first place as it is not his area and he has to fulfill the duties of the lab technician. Thus, Mike takes the risks and decides to clock in. As a result, his selfich action has negative consequences: the woman, who seeks medical treatment, slips over and breaks her hip. Now, the woman is hospitalized and suffers from extreme pain. Unfortunately, Mike is guilty and he understands it, but he still worries about the possibility of termination and keeps silent that it has been his mistake.
Patient safety is considered the key factor in appropriate patient treatment. According to World Health organization (WHO), “patients can be harmed from healthcare, resulting in permanent injury, increased lengths of stay in hospital and even death”. The studies of the last fifteen years show that such incidents occur due to incompetent healthcare providers. According to The Joint Commission, healthcare organizations strive to make their environment safer and more reliable . Therefore, safety strategies become the most important issues of staff education.
Based on the evidence given above, Mike’s decision was wrong. It was his obligation as a worker of the medical institution, who has noticed a spill on the floor, to report it to the personnel responsible for cleaning. Then he could have explained the reason of being late to the supervisor. However, feeling the tension of termination, Mike forgot that patient safety is of utmost importance. As a result, the woman was harmed, which means that she did not only suffer from physical injuries, but also her moral condition and mental health became unstable. Here, the risks of litigation are very high and the quality metrics of the organization will be considered very low. What is more, Mike’s decision has put other hospital departments on alert as different commissions and inspections of the healthcare environment might take place. The woman has the right to sue both the medical institution and the ones responsible for patient safety. Moreover, if the investigation reveals that Mike knew about the dangerous spill, he will be terminated eventually.
The problem that occurred with Mike is quite complex. According to the statistics, about 54.2% of incidents at workplaces are not reported due to simple lack of time. Therefore, being a manager, one should assess the situation from various perspectives. On the one hand, Mike has kept his promise and came on time, which makes him responsible for his words and a reliable worker. However, on the other hand, he could have reached the telephone and inform his supervisor about the spill and the necessity of cleaning it. In this case, he would do a good job and clock in via the telephone. Although, it was right to report the spill, Mike failed to analyze the situation appropriately, and therefore should be given a warning.
According to Helsdingen, critical thinking should be carried out understanding that one’s own opinion may be wrong, accepting the other truths even if they are conflictual, and adopting the other position that is disagreeable and contradictive. Therefore, Mike should have accepted that he was late and acknowledged that the spill on the floor was more important to deal with than his personal issues. Mainly, Mike has violated both medical and ethical principles. WHO and J. Reason believe that “a violation is a deviation from safe operating procedures, standards or rules”. Practically, the manager should “encourage healthcare workers to actively report through the establishment of a reporting environment which is open, fair and non-punitive…”. It follows that the manager should lecture the worker for not coping with simple safety rules, make this case a discussion for all the employees and ask the medical stuff not to commit the same mistake again.