May 15, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Symposium coverage: All different and all the same – the dichotomy of the safety community

Howdy folks.

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who attended the 3rd Annual Hospital Safety Center Symposium in Las Vegas, especially my esteemed colleagues and presenters: Dean Samet, Joe Cappiello, Marge McFarlane, and my Greeley cohort, Brad Keyes. Your presentations were illuminating and everything one could expect — props to all of you. We are all the better for your efforts, grace and humor, so many thanks!

I’d also like to thank my partner-in-blog, Scott Wallask from HCPro. The success of the blog has as much to do with his tireless efforts in keeping things lively and moving. The blog would not be what it is without Scott (of course, what it is may be subject to interpretation, but I know I like reading it).

We’ll be wrapping up shortly on the Vegas front, as the choppers will be landing soon to take us all back to our respective houses. And in the knowledge of this parting, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the safety community — those who are joined here in Vegas and those who were not able to join us (I hope to see you all next year).

I noted during my presentation this morning that each of our safety houses are as varied as each individual member of our organization, each experience, condition, event, and so on. But in that diversity, we are all charged with a single task, a task as simple and complicated as anything and everything: the elimination and/or minimization of risk in the physical environment. It’s what we do, it’s who we are.

There are seemingly many fewer vocations or callings in these fast-paced times of ours, but I firmly believe that safety is one of those last bastions of an older time. Risk has been here for a lot longer than we’ve been (fortunately we didn’t have to worry about pre-human historical risk), and it will likely exist for as long as there is something, anything.

These opportunities to gather at events like the Hospital Safety Center Symposium are few and far between, and the prospects for greater interaction in the immediate future do not appear to be optimal. No doubt some paths will cross over the next little while, but I think that we can somewhat lessen that distance by participation in list servs, blogs, and any and all manner of communications.

While our immediate challenges are many and varied, our vision and mission, if you will, are the same: ensuring the safety of all those within the sound of our voices, the sight of our vision, everyone in our house. I encourage you to be an active part of this vocation/ journey. Each of one of us has a story to tell and if the only lesson is one of perseverance, invention, ingenuity, frustration, angst, success, failure – it is all the better for the telling. There is not one among us who can not learn from the experience of others, so let’s travel this road together.

Wishing all those here in Vegas safe travels, and those of you at home, all wishes for success.

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at

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