Student Research Feature: Ivanette Stubbert

Photo of MA Leadership-Health student Ivanette Hargreaves

The School of Leadership Studies would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ivanette Stubbert on the completion of a Master’s Thesis titled, Nurturing an Authentic Culture of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety in Paramedicine.

This thesis is available through RRU’s library here.

We asked Ivanette a few questions about this research and this is what they said:

What are some key takeaways from your thesis that would be helpful for other leaders?

Key findings included the ability of frontline staff to commit to care improvements and safety relies upon the overall feeling of psychological safety within their organization.  Essentially, when staff feel unsafe in any regard, their willingness to speak up about issues pertaining to the safety of care provision is hampered.  Organizations aiming to improve quality and safety must first create an organizational culture that embodies values such as confidentiality, trust, just processes and procedures, compassion, empathy, consistency and accountability. 

Leaders at all levels of an organization must authentically embody these values, and live by them daily to ensure the desired culture shift. Despite this, the data revealed gaps in leadership curriculum when preparing for frontline job roles such as paramedicine.

How is the organization moving change forward based on your work?

The National Occupational Competency Profile (NOCP), commissioned by the Paramedic Association of Canada, outlines four integrated competency profiles that define the minimum competencies of paramedic and emergency medical responders within Canada. Understanding that curriculum is often developed based on the NOCP, there is a gap between the standard of knowing the importance of leadership and gaining the necessary non-technical skills to become an effective situational leader. The NOCP language presently includes the concept of “quality assurance”, but does not include concepts such as quality improvement, patient safety, or risk mitigation widely utilized within healthcare.  The organization is supporting a comprehensive review of the NOCP presently underway.

What surprised you about your experience of the thesis process?

By implementing a rigorous, defendable process to ensure data quality and confidentiality, I was able to confidently assure participants of the protection of their identity.  This enabled a researcher/participant relationship, and participants felt safe to share their experiences openly.  While some of these experiences were difficult to hear, I was proud to have created the space for the level of sharing that occurred.  This resonated with me while developing the findings, as it became clear that ensuring protected space for people provides a level of insight into concerns and issues such as those pertaining to culture and care that may not be possible if confidence in the process was lacking.

How are you applying lessons learned from your whole MA-Leadership journey?

My journey has not been without challenges.  Making it to the finish line would not have happened without the help of several people along the way.  It was difficult to ask for help, but I gained new perspective and lessons that I can share with others moving forward. 

I have gained more insight into myself, the values I hold dear, finding strength, building resiliency, and areas of opportunity for personal growth. The greatest lessons learned on this journey have been the value of long-term personal investment, the benefits of showing vulnerability even when it is scary to do so, building a community of like-minded people, and incorporating those lessons into the day to day practice of leadership.