The dark side of standardisation: when is it safer to ‘work around’ a protocol?


Healthcare staff adapt to challenges faced when delivering healthcare using workarounds. Sometimes, safety standards, the very thing used to routinely mitigate risk in healthcare, are the obstacles which staff choose to workaround.

Whilst there are negative connotations to workarounds, they may contribute to the delivery of safe care in some circumstances. This project aims to explore when it is safer to workaround safety standards.

This Yorkshire and Humber ARC PhD project consists of three studies:

  1. Scoping review to explore the circumstances and perceived implications of working around safety standards in healthcare.
  2. A multiple case using focused ethnographic methods to explore Exploring the enactment of safety standard workarounds in different healthcare contexts within an acute hospital in England.
  3. A focus group Exploring stakeholder perspectives on the role of workarounds in achieving safe administration of IV medication.


Currently Underway

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