Situation Awareness For Everyone (S.A.F.E) Collaborative

CPD Credits21

What is the S.A.F.E Programme?

“Small patient changes improve communication and collaboration therefore positively impacting on safety and awareness outcomes. S.A.F.E is so practical and patient and safety focused. The QI project and support to implement the huddle was invaluable. Really enjoyed hearing and getting support from other teams across the county.”

Sinead Costello, Critical Care Outreach Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda – Cohort 5 participant.


About this QI collaborative:

Situation Awareness For Everyone (S.A.F.E) is a short, 6-month collaborative patient safety education programme facilitated by RCPI expert faculty, funded by the HSE National Quality and Patient Safety Directorate. Multidisciplinary clinical teams learn how to implement an innovative safety improvement bundle. The bundle uses interventions such as EWS e.g. Irish National Early Warning System (INEWS), effective communication, psychological safety and medicines safety. Teams implement short, tailored Safety Huddles of less than 10 minutes.

We are inviting clinical teams to join us in September 2023. The S.A.F.E programme represents an excellent opportunity for multidisciplinary frontline clinical teams to further develop quality improvement (QI) and patient safety skills to tackle a specific problem area in an early warning system of their choice.

As well as QI theory, the S.A.F.E programme includes situation awareness methodology and the planning or improving of safety huddles on the wards.

"S.A.F.E is about people. It’s about the people providing and receiving care. One of the key things to remember is that healthcare is not always reactive. S.A.F.E marries the theory of prediction with the Irish early warning tools and systems and allows earlier decisions to be made regarding care. Hierarchies are flattened, all views are important. Lives can be saved."

In conversation with Peter Lachman, Lead Faculty, QI RCPI

What is the S.A.F.E Collaborative?

It is a short-term learning system that brings together teams from different hospital sites to seek improvement in early warning systems. Subject matter experts work together with improvement experts, using quality improvement methodology to implement changes at the front line of healthcare.

The dedicated S.A.F.E faculty will facilitate your team’s S.A.F.E journey using the methodology and will support you in working through your S.A.F.E project in your own setting.

“Huddles are helpful ways of us meeting the needs of children with complex care needs by improving communication and anticipatory care.” (Paediatric nurse, S.A.F.E 2022-23)

“Implementation of an easily sustainable multi-disciplinary team huddle has improved situation awareness and enhanced patient safety through the proactive identification of safety concerns.” (Nurse, S.A.F.E 2022-23)


Watch a video showing how the St Luke's Hospital Kilkenny established their huddle

How is the S.A.F.E Collaborative delivered?

This 6-day blended learning programme (two full days in person, four half days virtual via Zoom) is delivered by expert faculty. All learners are expected to attend each session with their team and conduct a safety huddle implementation or improvement initiative in their workplace.

The first session will be a full day in-person in RCPI No6 Kildare Street in September 2023, followed by four virtual learning sessions from October 2023 to February 2024 and one final in-person celebration session in March 2024. These sessions will involve lectures, case studies, interactive group activities and project-based learning.

Why do S.A.F.E?

When you join the S.A.F.E Collaborative, you will work within your teams with expert faculty to achieve the following aims:

  • -Reduce avoidable error and harm to acutely unwell patients
  • -Improve communication between individuals involved in patient care
  • -Improve culture and provide psychological safety for healthcare staff 


Please submit your application by 8 June 2023

Who can apply?

The new cohort is open to multidisciplinary teams working in acute inpatient adult, maternity, neonatal, paediatric or emergency care settings and from new or previously participating hospitals.

Who is in a S.A.F.E team?

Four members; a consultant, a senior nurse or midwife and two others. All members must have executive sponsorship to participate and must commit to attending all six workshops (live and virtual) and to working together for the duration of the programme to design and implement their bespoke Safety Huddle.

Each member of the team must be able to exert organisational change within the clinical setting of the proposed huddle. 

S.A.F.E teams should expect to meet briefly at least weekly for the duration of the collaborative. During the COVID pandemic, team meetings were facilitated by virtual platforms which made meetings shorter and easier.

We already have huddles – what’s different about the S.A.F.E huddle?

Many teams will already be familiar with the concept of huddles or safety initiatives such as the HSE Safety Pause. This is encouraging but there is often room for improvement in an existing huddle or an opportunity for development of a bespoke S.A.F.E huddle to target specific patient safety concerns. Previous S.A.F.E teams have done both with great success.

Here is some of what our recent graduates had to say:

  • -"It facilitated closed loop communication among the different specialities within the hospital"
  • -"Reduced the ward hierarchy and allows any member of the team to advocate for patients and their safety"
  • -"The S.A.F.E programme gave us a platform to identify and escalate issues daily and then find strategies to manage issues that arise"
  • -"We do a huddle in the mornings with managers and obstetric team, helps communication and anticipating patients we are worried about"

What is expected of us as a S.A.F.E team?

This course is delivered in person and remotely. Learners are expected to attend all sessions as a full team. For the virtual sessions, teams are strongly encouraged to join the session together from a room with AV facilities. Teams who have taken this approach have tended to achieve far better outcomes.

As a S.A.F.E team, you will be expected to:

  • -attend all scheduled learning sessions
  • -meet regularly as a team
  • -be actively involved in the design and implementation of the huddle implementation or improvement initiative in your workplace

What supports are in place for the teams?

All team members will be enrolled onto Brightspace, the RCPI virtual learning environment. Brightspace will be used to communicate with teams, provide programme content; resources, references and templates; and teams will be able to upload their ‘homework’ tasks ahead of each learning session to receive developmental feedback.

Our expert faculty provide team-based coaching using the Microsoft Teams platform to support teams between sessions, address and mitigate challenges and encourage engagement with the learning.

What will we learn?

  • -Safety theory including identifying risks and harms
  • -Huddle theory
  • -Safety culture theory & assessment
  • -Hear from previous S.A.F.E Teams and share learning with your peers
  • -Develop and test your huddle script
  • -Measure and communicate your successes


What are the learning session dates?







Learning Session 1           

13 September 2023         

In-person, No6 Kildare Street         

10.00 - 16:00             

Learning Session 2

17 October 2023

Virtual via Zoom

14.00 - 17.00

Learning Session 3

28 November 2023

Virtual via Zoom

14.00 – 17.00

Learning Session 4

11 January 2024

Virtual via Zoom

14.00 – 17.00

Learning Session 5

20 February 2024

Virtual via Zoom

14.00 – 17.00

Learning Session 6

12 March 2024

In-person, No6 Kildare Street

10.30 – 16.00

Apply here to join S.A.F.E

To apply for S.A.F.E in September 2023 click on the link at the bottom of the webpage. To prepare your application, you will need the names, roles and contact details for all four team members. One person will complete the form on behalf of the team but it is important that ALL team members and line managers are on board with the application and course dates. 

Applications open until 8 June 2023- Programme commences 13 September 2023

Successful teams will be notified by email before 13 June 2023

If you would like to speak to someone about S.A.F.E before applying please contact the RCPI Quality Improvement Department at

Tue 2 May 2023 - Thu 8 Jun 2023 00:00
RCPI, Ireland€0.00