Perceptions of Safety Culture Vary across the Intensive Care Units of a Single Institution

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Critical Care Medicine (Impact Factor: 6.31). 01/2007; 35(1):165-76. DOI: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000251505.76026.CF
Source: PubMed


To determine whether safety culture factors varied across the intensive care units (ICUs) of a single hospital, between nurses and physicians, and to explore ICU nursing directors' perceptions of their personnel's attitudes.
Cross-sectional surveys using the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire-ICU version, a validated, aviation industry-based safety culture survey instrument. It assesses culture across six factors: teamwork climate, perceptions of management, safety climate, stress recognition, job satisfaction, and work environment.
Four ICUs in one tertiary care hospital.
All ICU personnel.
We conducted the survey from January 1 to April 1, 2003, and achieved a 70.2% response rate (318 of 453). We calculated safety culture factor mean and percent-positive scores (percentage of respondents with a mean score of > or =75 on a 0-100 scale for which 100 is best) for each ICU. We compared mean ICU scores by ANOVA and percent-positive scores by chi-square. Mean and percent-positive scores by job category were modeled using a generalized estimating equations approach and compared using Wald statistics. We asked ICU nursing directors to estimate their personnel's mean scores and generated ratios of their estimates to the actual scores.Overall, factor scores were low to moderate across all factors (range across ICUs: 43.4-74.9 mean scores, 8.6-69.4 percent positive). Mean and percent-positive scores differed significantly (p < .0083, Bonferroni correction) across ICUs, except for stress recognition, which was uniformly low. Compared with physicians, nurses had significantly lower mean working conditions and perceptions of management scores. ICU nursing directors tended to overestimate their personnel's attitudes. This was greatest for teamwork, for which all director estimates exceeded actual scores, with a mean overestimate of 16%.
Significant safety culture variation exists across ICUs of a single hospital. ICU nursing directors tend to overestimate their personnel's attitudes, particularly for teamwork. Culture assessments based on institutional level analysis or director opinion may be flawed.

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    • "Subscales within the SAQ include Teamwork, Safety Climate, Job Satisfaction, Perceptions of Management, Working Conditions, and Stress Recognition. The SAQ has been used to assess opportunities for quality improvement in obstetrical settings [4], intensive care units [5,6], within single institutions [7-9], in multicentre studies [10-12], children’s hospitals [13], the Veteran’s Administration [14] and increasingly in international settings [8,15]. The SAQ has been well-described [16-18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Our previous analyses using the Stress Recognition subscale of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) resulted in significant effect estimates with equally opposing explanations. We suspected construct validity issues and investigated such using our own data and correlation matrices of previous published studies. The correlation matrices for each of the SAQ subscales from two previous studies by Speroff and Taylor were replicated and compared. The SAS Proc Factor procedure and the PRIORS = SMC option were used to perform Common Factor Analysis. The correlation matrices of both studies were very similar. Teamwork, Safety Climate, Job Satisfaction, Perceptions of Management and Working Conditions were well-correlated. The correlations ranged from 0.53 to 0.76. For Stress Recognition correlations ranged from -0.15 to 0.03. Common Factor Analysis confirmed the isolation of Stress Recognition. CFA returned a strong one-factor model that explained virtually all of the communal variance. Stress Recognition loaded poorly on this factor in both instances, and the CFA indicated that 96.4-100.0% of the variance associated with Stress Recognition was unique to that subscale, and not shared with the other 5 subscales. We conclude that the Stress Recognition subscale does not fit into the overall safety climate construct the SAQ intended to reflect. We recommend that this domain be omitted from overall safety climate scale score calculations, and clearly identified as an important yet distinct organizational construct. We suggest that this subscale be investigated for its true meaning, characterized as such, and findings conveyed to SAQ end users. We make no argument against Stress Recognition as an important organizational metric, rather we suggest that as a stand-alone construct its current packaging within the SAQ may be misleading for those intent on intervention development and evaluation in healthcare settings if they interpret Stress Recognition results as emblematic of safety climate.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · BMC Research Notes
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    • "Literature overview Few studies have dealt with the connection between organizational culture and the patients' perception of healthcare during change processes [14]. Most studies are focused on the impact of organizational variables on the success of medical innovations, staff satisfaction [15] [16] and patient safety [17] [18]. Some of these studies have been rather discouraging [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sweden has one of the oldest, most coherent and stable healthcare systems in the world. The culture has been described as conservative, mechanistic and increasingly standardized. In order to provide a care adjusted to the patient, person centered care (PCC) has been developed and implemented into some parts of the health care industry. The model has proven to decrease patient uncertainty. However, the impact of PCC has been limited in some clinics and hospital wards. An assumption is that organizational culture has an impact on desired outcomes of PCC, such as patient uncertainty. Therefore, in this study we identify the impact of organizational culture on patient uncertainty in five hospital wards during the implementation of PCC. Data from 220 hospitalized patients who completed the uncertainty cardiovascular population scale (UCPS) and 117 nurses who completed the organizational values questionnaire (OVQ) were investigated with regression analysis. The results seemed to indicate that in hospitals where the culture promotes stability, control and goal setting, patient uncertainty is reduced. In contrast to previous studies suggesting that a culture of flexibility, cohesion and trust is positive, a culture of stability can better sustain a desired outcome of reform or implementation of new care models such as person centered care. It is essential for health managers to be aware of what characterizes their organizational culture before attempting to implement any sort of new healthcare model. The organizational values questionnaire has the potential to be used as a tool to aid health managers in reaching that understanding.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Health Policy
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    • "However, perceptions of patient safety culture vary across disciplines, healthcare settings, and professional ranks [25, 26]. Notably, leaders are often associated with having more positive perceptions of the safety culture than frontline workers, and managers and physicians generally reported higher levels of positive perceptions of safety as compared to staff nurses [27]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The implementation of evidence-based practice guidelines can be influenced by nurses' perceptions of the organizational safety culture. Shift-by-shift management of each nursing unit is designated to a subset of staff nurses (charge nurses), whom are often recruited as champions for change. The findings indicate that compared to charge nurses, noncharge nurses were more positive about overall perceptions of safety (P = .05) and teamwork (P < .05). Among charge nurses, significant differences were observed based on the number of years' experience in charge: perception of teamwork within units [F(3, 365) = 3.52, P < .01]; overall perceptions of safety, [F(3, 365) = 4.20, P < .05]; safety grade for work area [F(3, 360) = 2.61, P < .05]; number of events reported within the last month [F(3, 362) = 3.49, P < .05]. These findings provide important insights to organizational contextual factors that may impact effectiveness outcomes research in the future.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012
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