Rene Schwendimann
Consulting Professor in the School of Nursing

René Schwendimann, PhD, RN is chief patient safety officer (CPSO) at the 750 bed University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland. He is also senior lecturer and former director of education at the Institute of Nursing Science (INS), University of Basel. After his postdoctoral fellowship in Prof. J.B. Sexton`s group at the Duke University Health System’s Patient Safety Center which was funded by a Swiss research grant, he became a consulting professor at the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON). His professional experience includes more than 35 years in a variety of clinical, administrative, mentoring and teaching positions (e.g. patient safety and quality) in nursing homes, hospitals and in academia.

René Schwendimann studied psychiatric nursing, nursing management and nursing science in Zurich, Aarau, Maastricht (NL) and Basel, Switzerland. After graduating with a MSc and PhD in Nursing Science he carried out postdoctoral studies based on his research in patient safety and teaching activities. He received the Venia Docendi of the University of Basel in 2014.

In his CPSO position, he is responsible for leading patient safety programs such as the hospitals critical incident reporting system, medication safety practices, adverse event detection and learning from medical errors using root cause analyses or learning from defects. His work includes the long-term task of building and maintaining a positive patient safety culture across and between the hospital`s clinical disciplines. To this end, he actively applies the leadership walk rounds format using an extended approach with on-site observations of clinicians’ patient safety performance coupled with subsequent follow up of improvement activities. In this manner, the variety of “work-as-done” can be captured and further cultivated to deliver care that is safe, reliable, and collaborative.

René Schwendimann’s research includes patient safety culture, healthcare workforce issues, and patient falls prevention. He regularly conducts small and medium scale research projects with master and doctoral students on topics such as on work environment, safety climate and teamwork at the local and national level. As scholar at the INS, he continues teaching courses in patient safety and quality of care and scientific writing for Master of Science in Nursing students.

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