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As many in the health care field recognize, anesthesiology, as a discipline, has been a leader in patient safety. As such, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recently partnered with IHI/NPSF to encourage its members to pursue certification in patient safety.


Jane Easdown, MD, MHPE, CPPS, is among those anesthesiologists and members of ASA who was ready to take the step toward certification in patient safety. A Professor of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a long-standing member of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Editorial Board, Dr. Easdown sees the CPPS credential as a natural extension of her clinical training.


“I think that all anesthesiologists — from the ones in training to those working independently in the field — are very much aware that we are responsible for patient safety. We are proud of the amount of energy and expertise that the ASA and other anesthesia organizations have put into focusing on patient safety and managing adverse events and errors within our own specialty,” said Dr. Easdown.


Jane Easdown, MD, MHPE, CPPS

Even with a patient safety background, Dr. Easdown recognized as she was going through the CPPS Review Course that some of the information she was learning was new to her. For example, developing a safety culture or how to respond to errors, had not been taught explicitly within her specialty. She noticed immediately that the review course was designed to appeal to professionals who want to get to the next level, want to solve problems, and not just in their practice. “These trainings give people the language to use in patient safety conversations in the interprofessional world when working with other disciplines and needing to solve problems with a systems-thinking approach. I believe that if you want to work at a systems level, you have to have those skills,” she said.

The ASA Anesthesia Patient Safety Editorial Board looks for different ways to offer educational materials to ASA members concerning systems thinking and patient safety, and as a member herself, she felt a responsibility to learn as much as she could. “I would highly recommend certification in patient safety to my anesthesiology colleagues because it is a signal to others that you have these skills and that you have a common background. In any department regardless of the size, if there’s an adverse event in need of analysis, you need the framework to proceed efficiently and effectively,” added Dr. Easdown.

"I would highly recommend certification in patient safety to my anesthesiology colleagues because it is a signal to others that you have these skills and that you have a common background."


When it came to taking the exam, she appreciated that it was designed for patient safety professionals to apply knowledge in real-world situations and to come up with practical ways to fix systems. It reinforced that she would be able to apply her knowledge when it was needed most in her day-to-day work.


Looking to the future of patient safety, Dr. Easdown believes that the work being done right now is focused on patients within our own specialty, but she would like to see the health care workforce work more collaboratively. “I think that having the kind of training that is offered by an international organization like IHI/NPSF puts everyone on the same path. It allows for better collaboration between professionals outside of their own specialties,” said Dr. Easdown. 


*ASA members are offered special rates for the Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) Review Course and the CPPS examination.

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