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Paula is the Executive Director of Patient Safety at Alberta Health Services. Prior to this, she spent six years working with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. In her former role as Senior Regional Director, Paula’s primary responsibility was to support relationships between CPSI and the western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with a particular focus on Safer Healthcare Now! Additionally she was responsible for leading pan Canadian and international efforts related to recognizing, responding to and reducing harm from patient safety incidents including support for Global Patient Safety Alerts, disclosure, and incident analysis.

Paula has a Master of Arts Degree with a specialization in health leadership. Her clinical background includes 18 years as an Advanced Care Paramedic. She has worked on a variety of patient safety and quality initiatives on a local, provincial, national and international level.

Vision for patient safety in Canada:

My vision for patient safety in Canada is a system of the best available technology supported by expert caregivers who understand the unique nature of healthcare as a complex adaptive system including the potential this system has to harm. Importantly, caregivers will work diligently to recognize the potential the system has to harm in order to adjust the care provided to achieve the best possible outcome for the Canadian population.

Vision for patient safety education in Canada:

My vision for patient safety education in Canada includes support for caregivers to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to understand healthcare as a complex adaptive system with the potential to harm. Ideally the education provides, to the extent possible, consistent global concepts delivered through a range of mechanisms that make sense for the busy healthcare environment.

My vision is that patient safety education will be integrated into all education and training programs for all health care professions. From the time students enter universities to begin training as health care providers through to continuing education competencies for practitioners, patient safety should be part of their curriculums. The Patient Safety Education Program is an excellent program and resource that will assist in standardizing care across the country as more organizations recognize the value and become involved.