Safety Leadership as a Concern for Nursing: What Our Postgraduate Students Don't Say!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 2:05 PM

Joyce Hendricks, PhD, RN, RM
Vicki Cope, MHS, (Nursing)
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia

Learning Objective 1: increase knowledge related to the role of safety in leadership

Learning Objective 2: describe leadership in relation to the quality and safety enhancement cycle

Background: The success of an organisation’s safety program is directly related to the focus and diligence of its leaders to provide a culture of patient safety and safe care delivery.  The need for safety leadership requires the preparation of nurses to influence the patient safety and safe practice agenda through the development of leadership capabilities via the efficacy of a leadership program and leadership training within education.


To determine the extent to which potential nurse leaders enrolled in a leadership program of education at one university in Australia see patient risk and safety as part of their leadership role.


A descriptive design was used to elucidate the extent to which postgraduate students recognise patient risk and safety as a leadership function.


 Descriptive statistics and content analysis used to analyse data around key words: patient safety, patient risk, and continuous improvement and analysis of postgraduate nursing student’s responses to what is leadership? and their role as leaders.

Potential nurse leaders are disassociated from their role of continuous improvement and see this role as a separate entity that is someone else’s concern. Patient safety and risk whilst acknowledged is secondary to concerns over workplace disharmony, lack of staff and the day to day operations of staffing a healthcare system.

The role of clinical governance is given scant mention in the role of nursing leadership and shared responsibility for patient safety and risk is not mentioned.


 That potential nurse leaders are required to demonstrate knowledge and skill in the tenets of clinical governance and that key performance indicators are attached to all senior clinical positions to demonstrate active involvement in continuous improvement and the management of patient risk and safety.


See more of: Nursing Leadership Tools for Improving Practice
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