The Health Foundation has launched a new supplement today in the Nursing Times that explores how nurses are using proactive approaches to manage patient safety.

The supplement, Nursing a safer future, showcases nurse-led initiatives that demonstrate effective and proactive safety management and stimulates discussion and new ways of thinking about how to make care safer for patients.

To date improvement activity has mainly focused on a handful of harms and relied on reactive approaches to safety management following harm to patients. The Health Foundation believes that we must build on these approaches and move towards a more proactive approach to safety management, tackling the more complex hidden harms and protecting patients.

A proactive approach to managing safety involves examining the conditions needed for safe care, identifying potential harms and taking action to prevent them. The supplement demonstrates that nurses are well placed to improve the safety of people in their care and are doing impressive work to improve the safety of their patients.

As the nurse-led initiatives highlighted in this supplement confirm, effective safety management requires a clear understanding of the daily challenges health care professionals face in their work, a pathway design focused on the patient’s safety, continuous monitoring and swift responses to changing circumstances.