Registered nurse Lorena Pérez and associate social worker Amanda Silva were named Kaweah Delta’s Patient Safety Heroes of the Year at the hospital’s fifth annual Patient Safety Symposium held at the Visalia Convention Center.
Pérez and Silva were recognized for their work to improve the quality and safety of care at Kaweah Delta and potentially save lives on March 22.
The annual event, which was attended by more than 300 leaders, focused on improving patient safety through just culture.
“Just culture is where we learn from our mistakes, where we speak openly and honestly, where we design systems and practices that are aimed at reducing human error, where we learn to speak up as simply as breathing,” said Kaweah Delta CEO Gary Herbst as he described “just culture” and how adopting it can elevate care, making Kaweah Delta a safer environment for the community.
“That it doesn’t take some amazing act of courage to speak up when you see a mistake happen or about to happen,” Herbst said.
And Pérez and Silva were nominated for the hospital’s the year award for doing just that, having the courage to speak up to reduce human error in their fields.
Both identified opportunities in their departments to improve the quality of patient care and safety and tied for the award, which is only in its second year at Kaweah Delta.
As a nurse working with dialysis patients, Pérez clarified a breakdown in communication on her unit that was potentially life-saving for patients.
“I just felt like I was just doing my job, but it’s really nice that the things we do to go above and beyond for people get recognized. It encourages people to do the right thing,” said Pérez, who became a nurse because she enjoys taking care of people.
Pérez took care of her husband’s grandmother for seven years after she was bed bound after a stroke.
“I want to take care of people in their time of need, in their time illness. It’s special to me,” said Pérez who has worked at Kaweah Delta for 12 years.
Silva, who has worked at Kaweah Delta for three years, took it upon herself to create a process to improve communication with child welfare services to protect children.
“I was overwhelmed and just started crying,” said Silva of being named a “hero.” “It just think it’s very important to advocate for our tiny little humans. They are one of our most vulnerable populations and I want them to have that extra support.”
“These awards are about getting better for our patients and for our community,” said Sandy Volchko, director of Quality and Patient Safety at Kaweah Delta. “We are committed to doing everything we can to continually improve so that we can bring the highest levels of care to our community.”
The symposium featured David Marx, chief executive officer of a Dallas-based risk management firm who has spends the majority of his time helping organizations develop values-supportive practices and culture.