Patient safety culture in hospital settings : Measurements, health care staff perceptions and suggestions for improvement

Abstract: The aim was to psychometrically test the S-HSOPSC and HSOPSC, investigate health care staff’s perceptions of patient safety culture and their suggestions for improvement.Methods: A three-time cross-sectional study with data from health care staff (N= 3721) in a Swedish county council was conducted in 2009 (N = 1,023), 2011 (N = 1,228) and 2013 (N =1,470) using the S-HSOPSC (I, II, III). Health care staff’s suggestions for improvement were analyzed in a qualitative content analysis study (IV).Results: The S-HSOPSC (14 dimensions, 51 items) is acceptable for measuring patient safety culture (I). Health care staff held a positive attitude towards their own unit’s teamwork, and a less favorable attitude towards hospital managers’ support for patient safety work (I). Managers held a more positive attitude towards patient safety than others and enrolled nurses held a more positive attitude than registered nurses and physicians (II, III). Positive attitudes towards learning, nonpunitive response and staffing was associated with positive attitudes towards overall safety (II). Health care staff’s attitudes towards patient safety decreased between 2009- 2013 for 12 dimensions (III). A diversity of approaches, nuanced in relation to the informant’s profession was suggested to improve patient safety, for example ‘Increased staffing’ ‘Teamwork and collaboration’ and ‘Committed management' (IV).Conclusions: The S-HSOPSC is suitable for measuring patient safety culture. Supporting and committed managers, teamwork and collaboration are important for patient safety improvement. RNs have an important coordinating position in patient safety work, since they work in close proximity to the patients, and strategically in teams, where decisions of importance for patient safety are made. Health care staff attitudes towards communication, nonpunitive approach, feedback and learning from mistakes have deteriorated. To prevent from organizational fatigue, actions are needed.