Operationalizing Psychological Safety Through Interprofessional Learning at the Point of Care

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
continuum - cliniciansinterprofessional clinical learning environmentsmulti-model education

Strengthening Minds by Leveraging Education (SMiLE) is an interprofessional team learning experience that aims to build individual capacity, improve collective competence, and support the development of high-performing teams. SMiLE is implemented as longitudinal, discussion-based sessions that bring interprofessional healthcare professionals together to examine their professional thinking, evaluate their individual perspectives, and identify ways to improve their collaborative practices.


The SMiLE curriculum has four parts entitled: roles and responsibilities, psychological safety, a day in the life of, and teamwork. For the purpose of this seminar, we will focus on psychological safety (PS) and will demonstrate strategies to create a safe learning environment when discussing failure, errors, or suboptimal outcomes. The seminar will include interactive exercises and discussions about personal contributions conducive to mitigating errors.


Shared mental models promote transparency and provide the structure needed for members of teams to effectively work together. In this seminar, we will share a process for establishing shared mental models and enhancing interprofessional collaboration. Shared mental models refer to a shared understanding of the task at hand - being clear on the roles. We will demonstrate the use of techniques that promote respectful, empathetic, and honest communication. Participants will practice using strategies that foster mutual respect and enable teams to focus on what matters most. During this activity, we will review important pillars of collaboration (i.e., respectful interaction, efficient coordination, effective communication, inclusive decision making, and transparency and accountability) and explore relevant strategies (e.g., Briefs, Debriefs, Huddles, SBAR, CUS, etc.).


Participants will walk away from this seminar with the tools needed to implement educational activities that foster mutual respect and shared mental models. They will have a conceptual understanding of how to create a psychologically safe environment. Psychologically safe environments encourage healthcare professionals to speak up which can lead to improvements in patient safety and collaborative practices. Such environments empower healthcare professionals to take interpersonal risks and express their knowledge, opinions, and concerns when it matters most


Learner Outcomes:

• Describe the impact speaking up and transparent communication have on interprofessional collaboration and patient outcomes.

• Discuss factors that contribute to building psychological safety in a healthcare setting.

• Select appropriate teaming strategies to help minimize errors and learn from failure.


This seminar will be highly interactive, it includes demonstrations of how to use key strategies followed by opportunities to practice and engaging discussions.


Upon completion of the seminar, participants will be asked to complete a 2-item, open-ended survey relating to what was learned and commitment to change.



1. Introduction (10min)

2. Recalling Errors (15min): Explanation of activity and example of an event involving a suboptimal outcome due to poor communication/collaboration. In small groups, participant will recall an event and share amongst groups, then with the large group

3. Practicing PS (30min): Overview of important pillars of collaboration and review of teaming/communication strategies. Large and small group discussions about which pillars of collaboration are MOST relevant to their situation. Participants will collaboratively complete a worksheet then share the most interesting points in their discussions.

5. Wrap-up (5min)