Culture of Change Advisory

  • University of Pennsylvania Communications
  • Fishbowl
  • time for change
  • Chance Change
  • group heads

Culture of Change Advisory

Changing Penn Anesthesiology "one story at a time"

Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania Core Value Statement

“We strive to provide consistently safe care of the highest quality to all patients irrespective of background, identity, or means. To accomplish this mission, we teach and learn from each other in an environment of mutual respect, open discourse, and honest self reflection…”

Purpose Statement


The  Penn Anesthesiology "Culture of Change" Advisory was developed to create an environment and forum for open discourse and honest self-reflection with the protection of identities. The true essence of what it means to act in a “professional manner” may often elude us and although members of the department may act in a professional manner most of the time, we can improve our interactions and ensure that we treat each other with utmost respect in all possible encounters: face-to-face relations, written communication and over the telephone. This will begin to address workplace morale, and hopefully translate into improved job satisfaction, commitment, productivity, concentration, and ultimately patient safety. The goal of this advisory is also to ensure the creation of an environment that focuses on the well-being of the members of the department.

The  Penn Anesthesiology "Culture of Change" Advisory will use narratives identified and submitted by attendings, residents, CRNAs, administrative staff and anesthesia technicians in the department that illustrate real but de-identified scenarios of both outstanding and poor peer-to-peer, peer-to-learner, learner-to-patient, peer-to-patient and staff-to-supervisor interactions.  Hence, the goal of this new Advisory is to change the culture one story at a time. Our initial efforts will be focused internally (Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care) with the hope that the resultant effects would be eventually dispersed to the surrounding external environment.

Each narrative will identify salient points for discussion including:
  1. What was done well? – “Professional behavior”
  2. What went wrong? – “Behavior inconsistent with a culture of safety”
  3. What could have been done better? 
  4. How could it be done better? – “Specific strategies to implement a culture of change”
  • Anonymous commentaries/editorials on challenging narratives can be re-submitted in succeeding editions for further discussion.
  • Please submit your de-identified narratives to any of the editors or resident representatives at
  • The Penn Anesthesiology “Culture of Change” Advisory will be published quarterly.

Excerpts adopted from the book “The No Asshole Rule” – Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t – by Robert I. Sutton, PhD.

  “… nasty interactions have a far bigger impact on our moods than positive interactions – five times the punch according to recent research…”

“It takes numerous encounters with positive people to offset the energy and happiness sapped by a single negative episode…”

“Dozens of studies found that victims reported reduced job satisfaction and productivity, trouble concentrating at work, mental and physical health problems including difficulty sleeping, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, chronic fatigue, burnout, irritability, anger, and depression…”


Banner "Fishbowl": Culture Change. Digital Image. Firovia consulting. Web. 5 May 2016.

Banner "Group Hug": Liker, Jeff. Manufacturing culture change - small steps for excellence. Digital Image. Gray. 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Feb 2016.

Banner "Change Blocks": Change/Chance Blocks. Digital Image. BPC consulting. Web. 10 Feb 2016.

Banner "Time for Change": Weidelman Krick, Rhonda. It's time for change… Digital Image. Mindful nutritionist. 30 Sept 2008. Web. 6 May 2016.

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