Bernie the Safety St. Bernard introduced at Naval Hospital Oak Harbor's Staff and Beneficiaries

Story Number: NNS140212-06Release Date: 2/12/2014 12:42:00 PM
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By Lt. Cmdr. Jessica Pipkin, Infection Prevention and Patient Safety Committee Chair

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (NHOH) introduced Bernie, the Safety Saint Bernard, to staff and patients as NHOH's way to help promote a Culture of Patient Safety throughout the command, Feb. 7.

Just as the Saint Bernard breed is known for its legacy as a rescue dog, Bernie at NHOH brings a belief in fostering patient safety culture initiatives to help keep any patients from harm.

"Patient safety and quality continue to be a strategic priority for Navy Medicine...I expect staff to feel safe in expressing concerns or asking questions of colleagues," said Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan. "I expect commands to create 'safe zones' around the patient experience where any staff member can speak up and patient safety comes first."

Bernie the Safety Saint Bernard and his friends at NHOH will be out for weekly walks throughout the command to solicit suggestions and ask staff questions about patient safety.

Each month a suggestion will be chosen and a name will be drawn from participating staff to receive a Patient Safety Recognition Award.

"We encourage everyone - patients, staff, and visitors - to "speak up" when they see something that might impact on patient safety, and to give us ideas that can help keep our patients safe and improve the care we provide," said Capt. Edward Simmer, NHOH commanding officer.

Frail said the NHOH policy is to strongly supports a "no blame" culture, and focus on improving (safety-related) processes, as the entire command works together to make NHOH better.

Staff, beneficiaries and visitors are encouraged when they see Bernie to meet and greet, and share thoughts and ideas to keep improving Patient Safety at NHOH.

In addition, patients can also receive Bernie's business card with information on how to contact the NHOH Patient Safety Specialist, Bill Frail at 360-257-9709 or Suggestions may also be made anonymously.

For more news from Naval Hospital Bremerton, visit

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