Supporting Nurses to Speak Up for Patient Safety Using an Employee Engagement Survey

Friday, 28 July 2017

Nicole Hall, MSN, MBA
Quality Committment, Beebe Healthcare, Lewes, DE, USA
Cheryl Graf, MSN
Beebe Healthcare, Lewes, DE, USA

Purpose: The purpose of this research study is to further develop the understanding of factors that influence patient safety as they relate to nurses speaking up when faced with concerns through examination of archival employee engagement survey results.

Methods: The planned site for procurement of data for this research study is ABC hospital, a privately owned healthcare organization located in the United States that provides both inpatient and outpatient services. The employee engagement survey data that will be examined is from 2015 and had an overall 96% response rate at the research site. The target population for this study was registered nurses but the data set only allowed isolation of respondents who were either nurses, nursing assistants or unit secretaries. The data set did not permit the researcher to isolate only registered nurses.

An explanatory sequential research design was chosen for this study because of its incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative inquiry. This mixed methods study not only allows for identification of variables that influence nurse willingness to speak up through quantitative analysis of archival Employee Engagement survey results, but it then enables exploration of these findings through interviewing. To further understand those variables on the employee engagement survey that were associated with willingness to speak up, the qualitative interviews will allow the researcher to explore the phenomenon being studied by posing open-ended questions with the goal of learning from the interviewees’ more about the variables of focus. After carefully considering the quantitative findings, a small number of key interviewees will be hand selected.

Results: The results of this research study will be finalized the spring of 2017 with quantitative analysis concluding in January 2017 and qualitative analysis concluding in March 2017. The results will include identification of variables on the employee engagement survey that impact nurse willingness to speak up through quantitative analysis. Interviewing allows for elaboration on these findings and aids interpretation of the data. Lastly, recommendations will be made, based on the quantitative and qualitative findings, for ways that healthcare organizations can support nurses to speak up when they observe something that may negatively affect patient care.

Conclusion: Conclusions for this study are not yet available though they are part of a doctoral research study that is currently being pursued. By identifying predictor variables, from an employee engagement survey, that support or conversely inhibit nurse willingness to speak up in these situations, the healthcare industry can better comprehend the phenomenon, plan ways to increase its frequency, and support its practice.