Perceptions of Patient Safety Culture Among Healthcare Professionals and Paraprofessionals Working in a Single Perioperative Unit

Thursday, July 14, 2011: 10:35 AM

Kathryn McDonnell, DNP, RN, CCRN-CSC
Department of Nursing Administration, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT
Moreen O. Donahue, DNP, RN, CNA, BC
Administration, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT
Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, RN, PhD, MBA, FAAN
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe attitudes and behaviors consistent with positive, neutral, or negative patient safety culture perceptions for the study sample

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify overall patient safety culture perceptions described in a single perioperative unit compared to similar studies and national benchmarks.

Purpose: A growing body of research indicates that most healthcare workers do not perceive the current patient safety culture (PSC) in their organizations positively.  As a first step in creating a PSC that translates into improved health outcomes through the delivery of safer care, this study describes the overall PSC of healthcare professionals and paraprofessionals working in a single perioperative area.  

Methods: Survey methodology was employed to describe PSC perceptions as positive, neutral, or negative for healthcare professionals and paraprofessionals working in the perioperative area of a 371-bed teaching hospital using the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture (HSOPSC).   Patterns (number and methods) of adverse safety event reporting for this group are also described.

Results: Of 79 respondents, overall perceptions of the current PSC were neutral in 7 and negative in 5 of the twelve HSOPSC dimensions evaluated.  Positive perceptions ranged from 73% (Teamwork Within Units) to 35% (Hospital Handoffs and Transitions).  Respondents reported few adverse safety events and did not always use standard reporting methods.

Conclusion: Overall PSC perceptions of study respondents were less positive compared with 2009 national HSOPSC benchmarks, but were aligned with those of other high risk areas reported in the literature.   Adverse safety events remain largely unreported and those who do report events appear to use less formal reporting methods.  Respondents identified Nonpunitive Response to Error and Hospital Transitions and Handoffs as areas that could most benefit from an improved PSC within the study setting.  Few studies have evaluated the PSC perceptions of healthcare professionals working in the perioperative area and only one study has evaluated PSC perceptions among multiple provider groups in this setting.  Ongoing research may help to identify what attitudes and behaviors work together to create a patient safety culture in high-risk settings, such as the perioperative area.