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Deliberate practices of speaking up and responding skills: the Speak-PREP e-learning module for healthcare professionals


Purpose Speaking up and responding to others’ concerns promotes patient safety. We describe health professionals’ utilisation of these important skills.

Method We developed an interactive e-learning module, Speak-PREP, to train healthcare professionals in speaking up and responding strategies. Participants completed interactive video-based exercises that engaged them with entering speaking up and responding statements, augmenting strategies from a list of prompting phrases and responding to a pushback. We report strategy utilisation.

Results A total of 101 health professionals completed Speak-PREP training. Most frequently used speaking up strategies were: brainstorming to explore solutions (50%), showing consideration of others (45%) and encouraging others’ opinions through invitations (43%). Responding strategies included reflecting the concern expressed by colleagues, discussing next steps and expressing gratitude (70%, 67% and 50%, respectively). When prompted, participants augmented their statements with reframing concerns, asking questions to deepen understanding, using how or what to start questions and expressing curiosity (p<0.00001, p=0.003, p=0.0002 and p<0.0001, respectively). Pushbacks lead to increased use of reflecting the concern and decreasing consideration, curiosity, empathy, expressing gratitude and encouraging others’ opinions (p<0.05 for all).

Conclusions The Speak-PREP module targeted deliberate practice in speaking up and responding skills. Future work should examine the application of these strategies in the clinical environment.

  • patient safety
  • communication
  • behaviour
  • learning
  • strategy

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