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USA: Hospitals' safety culture gap

Healthcare workers' perceptions of safety at their organisations is improving, though a gap still remains between senior leaders and front-line workers, according to a Press Ganey report.

Press Ganey surveyed more than 1 million employees from 200 health systems in the USA in 2023. The poll included 19 questions related to safety culture across three domains: prevention and reporting, pride and reputation, and resources and teamwork.

Three takeaways:

  1. Staff safety culture scores have risen from an all-time low of 3.96 (out of 5) in 2021 to 4.01 in 2023. This increase was largely driven by improvements around staff members' perceptions of resources and teamwork, including views on adequate unit staffing. "While these improvements are encouraging, there's still a lot of work to do," Press Ganey said. "Pre-pandemic rates were never the desired end state, and it’s important to note that nearly half (48.5%) of employees still have a low perception of safety culture." 
  2. Senior management reported the highest perceptions of safety culture at 4.53, while registered nurses and advanced practice providers reported the second- and third-lowest at 3.95 and 3.92, respectively. Security team members had the lowest perceptions of safety at 3.91.
  3. large gap was also seen between senior leaders and registered nurses regarding perceptions of workplace violence protections. Senior management gave their organizations a 4.30 out of 5 for having strong security measures in place to prevent violence, compared to just 3.36 for nurses. 

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Source: Becker's Hospital Review, 3 April 2024


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