19 May 2022
Patient Safety & Infection Prevention Theatre
You may be familiar with a typical way of thinking about a ‘just culture’, one where the line between what is acceptable and not acceptable is clear – which turned out to be anything but clear. Such a just culture is essentially retributive. It asks: • which rules are broken? • how bad is the breach? • what should the consequences be? Such a ‘just culture’ is organized to focus on a single ‘offender', asks what they have done and what they deserve. But many have found that simplistic guidance about pigeonholing human acts does not take them very far. In fact, it leaves all the hard work of deciding what is just, of what is the right thing to do, to them. Research shows that it tends to favor those who already have power and that it reduces the flow of safety information. So many in healthcare are turning to a different model of just culture. That is what this talk is about: restorative justice holds great promise. It asks very different questions in the wake of an incident: • Who is impacted? • What are their needs? • Whose obligation is it to meet those needs? Restorative just cultures are already associated with better learning, more trust, engagement and retention, and even improved suicide prevention. In spite of persistent retributive environments, your organization too can make a commitment to a just- and learning culture.