Candidate for Director: Patricia A. McGaffigan

Patricia A. McGaffigan, RN, MS
Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Program Strategy and Management; Prior Interim President

National Patient Safety Foundation

Experience and Activities

AACN Commitment and Involvement in the Past 3 Years

Includes how the candidate integrated AACN's mission and work into her current role and practice. Local and national volunteer activities are listed, if applicable.

  • Moderator/facilitator, Patient Safety Summit, NTI 2013, co-sponsored and developed with National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) and AACN
  • Lifetime member since 2001

Key Professional Activities Outside AACN in the Past 3 Years

Includes involvement with other professional organizations, teaching and/or speaking.

  • Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation Foundation, Healthcare Technology Safety Institute
    • Coalition for Organizations on Adverse Events, 2013–present
    • Member, National Advisory Council, 2012–present
  • Hospital Association-NPSF Leadership Fellowship Program
    • NPSF program lead, 2012–present
    • Fellow, graduated May 2013
  • NPSF media/public relations contact/author/interviewee
    • Key contributor, wide range of published interviews, including lead editorial for USA Today patient safety insert: “Arm Yourself With Knowledge” and numerous national print and online media outlets, 2012–present
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
    • Invited work group member, “Preventing Injuries From Falls in the Elderly,” 2013
  • U.S. Congressional Briefing on Patient Safety in Oncology
    • Invited panelist/speaker, “The Patient/Family Experience,” Washington, D.C., 2012

Issues Statement

Joy and Meaning of Work and Workforce Safety: Imperatives for Patient Safety

Safety experts across nonhealthcare and healthcare disciplines agree that the physical and emotional safety of the workforce is a leading indicator of organizational success. Safe workforces are free from risk of both physical and emotional harm, and workforce safety is inextricably linked to patient safety. 

AACN has boldly held that nurses who care for patients in times of their greatest vulnerability and need are able to make their most meaningful contributions when they feel safe in their work environment. We have been at the forefront of promulgating Healthy Work Environment Standards, and we have established the Beacon program, which recognizes this vital component of clinical excellence.

Why then, don’t the majority of our colleagues boldly ascribe to the precondition of a healthy workforce? Why don’t we all track and broadly communicate psychological and physical safety as a key performance metric?

Governing bodies, administration, midlevel management and staff must choreograph stronger position statements and standards for prioritizing workforce safety. It is a nonnegotiable precondition for joy and meaning at work, and, hence, patient safety.

With expanded collaboration between influential associations, leaders, safety experts and our workforce, we can innovate, refine and pragmatically enunciate best practice solutions that will transition our ideas, commitments and attitudes about workforce safety from “business as usual” to “business as it must become.”

If a key patient safety priority is that no patient is harmed by healthcare, why shouldn’t our first priority be that no provider is physically or emotionally harmed or depleted in the quest to make their most meaningful contribution?

Leaders in other complex and high-risk industries own, measure and continually improve their unwavering commitment to workforce safety. Let’s make it happen!

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