The Ethos Program

Creating a safe & respectful workplace – for us, by us

The Ethos program forms part of our commitment to ensure all our staff and patients feel welcome, valued and safe. It was developed by St Vincent’s Health Australia and aims to build a culture of safety and respect. Ethos is the final loop to bring together our safety initiatives over the last few years, including You’re the Director of Patient Safety, You’re the Voice, You said we did and It’s ok to ask. We want to celebrate our role models, support staff to feel equipped to speak up and to help recognise and change poor behaviour.

The Ethos program recognises that most of our staff live our Mission and Values every day and there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the link between behaviour and patient and staff safety.

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We want to recognise and reward out staff who are exceptional role models, as we know positive behaviour has a profound impact on staff and patient safety. However in healthcare we experience some behaviour that is not reflective of the environment we would like to work in every day. Negative behaviour can have a large impact on your safety and our patient’s safety.

We want to own a culture of speaking up, addressing problems when they arise in an early, informal, non-punitive way to prevent them from continuing. However sometimes our staff may not feel safe to be speak up or ill equipped to speak up. The Ethos program has the opportunity for staff to report negative behaviour via a confidential online reporting tool. They can also choose to report anonymously.

Providing our staff with the opportunity to receive feedback from their peers is fundamental to the Ethos program. Staff can report positive behaviour using the online reporting tool. The subject of a positive report will receive feedback from their line manager. The subject of a negative report will receive feedback in the form of an Ethos message, delivered by a peer messenger. An Ethos message is an informal, respectful and confidential conversation which aims to inform an individual about how their behaviour has been perceived and to offer an opportunity to reflect and think about ways they may handle it differently next time. An Ethos message is not disciplinary or punitive, it is not part of a formal process or investigation.

  1. Expectation – Ethos’ founding principle is holding every individual within our organisation in high regard and to the same consistent behaviour across the workplace
  2. Celebration – Ethos provides an avenue to celebrate colleagues who go above and beyond their role to help others
  3. Training – The Ethos website has videos and written resources to help people learn how to manage different situations
  4. Actio n– Ethos provides positive steps that you can take to help deal with a behaviour problem at your work
  5. Reporting – Ethos has an online reporting tool for anonymously reporting great behaviours or unsafe behaviours towards staff or patients
  6. Messengers – These colleagues will meet with peers who have received reports about their behaviour and offer them an opportunity to reflect on their behaviour.

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SVHNS Ethos Program



CUSS Speaking up videos

Behaviour and Safety Resources