1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
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  3. The Human Genre Project

Egenis · Events

Egenis seminar with Dr Jessica Mesman, 'Exnovation of Safety Practices in Critical Care'

Seminar   13.02.2012






Dr Jessica Mesman, Technology & Society Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University

Organised by



University of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ

Room no: GF7

Event details

Time: 3:00 - 4:30pm


This presentation will discuss an alternative agenda for patient safety research: one that aims to understand the presence of safety in health care practices. This approach derives from the question why are there not more errors and incidents? As there is a growing consensus that complex work-environments, like health care practices, are imperfect by nature, we have ample reason to wonder why things don’t go wrong more often in these complex care settings. After all, do we really know why and how things are going safe in the first place? As such it questions the dominant way of understanding safety as defined as ‘the absence of errors and incidents’ and offers a perspective that characterizes patient safety on the basis of what it is, instead of what it is not. Therefore the focus of patient safety studies should also include the identification of unarticulated resources of strength that enable clinicians to maintain safety despite fallible technologies, sometimes unrealistic rules and incompatible procedures and systems that are inherently imperfect, by their very nature. In this perspective the accomplishment of patient safety in everyday practice becomes an extraordinary achievement and begs the question of what is done and used –besides the formal safety measures- to accomplish this level of safety?

In her presentation Jessica Mesman will discuss the analysis of the ordering work involved in creating safe health care practices in complex care situations. Point of departure is the recognition of practices as modes of ordering and organizing our world. To ‘exnovate’ the hidden competencies of practices she will try to reveal the locus of safety in the interplay and dynamic of the modes of organizing that direct the reconfiguration of collaborative actions. For this purpose the formation of an ad hoc team during an unexpected admission on a neonatal intensive care unit will act as object of study. Based on ethnographic research a fine-grained analysis of sources of coherency will provide insights into the preservation of patient safety during these moments of radical reconfiguration.

Further details