Despite the skillful and committed efforts of health care professionals, there is a dark side. Humans are humans, and mistakes happen. And when things go wrong in health care, they have potentially disastrous effects on those involved.
Health care professional and university lecturer Jeremy Limpens challenges the health care system’s common way of responding to patients and their families when expectations haven’t been met. The current culture not only makes it difficult for patients to receive an authentic apology from health care providers where appropriate, but also prevents doctors, nurses and other staff from truly hearing a patient’s story, inhibiting their ability to say sorry in an authentic and heartfelt way.
Jeremy proposes a radical change, in which the health care system will use a method that currently yields great success in the justice system and other community settings where harm has occurred. It’s about creating a two-way open dialogue between health care professionals and those affected, using restorative practices. As a result, patients and clinical staff are able to openly discuss what happened, acknowledge the impact, say sorry where needed, learn, and mutually agree on a way forward.
Jeremy Limpens has spent close to twenty years working in health care as a senior manager, emergency and remote area nurse specialist, and paramedic across fifteen countries.
In addition to working in some of the world’s busiest emergency departments and intensive care units, he worked in various remote and isolated settings around the world. This included the Arctic Circle, aboard merchant ships, and maximum-security prisons. He also worked as a health, safety and security manager for an international aid organization, in the Australian outback and Northern Canada, and as a university lecturer in health science.
Regardless of the location, he noticed the same pattern of conflict and frustration amongst health care staff, patients and their families. He also noticed an unwillingness and inability to do something different. With is extensive experience, along with his postgraduate studies in health sciences, business and organizational behavior, conflict and restorative practice, he is dedicated to improving leadership, communication and reducing conflict within the health care sector.