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Creating safety by strengthening clinicians' capacity for reflexivity
  1. Rick Iedema
  1. Correspondence to Professor Rick Iedema, Centre for Health Communication, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123, NSW 2007, Sydney, Australia; r.iedema{at}


This commentary explores the nature of creating safety in the here-and-now. Creating safety encompasses two dimensions: revisiting specific behaviours by focusing on substandard performance (reflection), and a more broad-ranging attention to everyday behaviours that are taken as given (reflexivity). The piece pays particular attention to this second dimension of creating safety. Two techniques that promote reflexivity are discussed: video-filming real-time, everyday clinical practice and inviting clinicians' feedback about their own footage, and reflecting on the knowledge and questions that patients and families have about their care, and about unexpected outcomes and clinical incidents. The piece concludes that feedback about everyday practice using these methods is critical to enhancing the safety of everyday activity.

  • Complexity
  • safety
  • communication
  • reflection
  • reflexivity
  • safety culture
  • team training

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  • Funding The research reported on here was made possible thanks to grants awarded by the Australian Research Council and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the University of Technology Sydney, University of NSW, as well as all relevant health service Human Research Ethics Committees.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.