New perspectives on psychosocial safety climate in healthcare

A mixed methods approach
The psychological safety of frontline healthcare workers receives less attention in policy and from management than either physical safety or productivity goals. In other industries, Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC) has been used to better understand how management values shape job design and the health and wellbeing of workers. Our study looks at how PSC theory manifests in healthcare on a day-to-day basis, aiming to explore the factors shaping that climate from the perspective of the frontline worker. A grounded theory approach was used in content analysis of semi-structured interviews with staff from three government hospitals (N?=?27), including nursing, medical, allied health, and administrative employees. Findings suggest that PSC theory might at a broad level be applicable to a wide range of industries, such as through key themes like ‘Communication' and ‘Group Expectations'. However it is important to acknowledge industry-specific factors in how PSC is manifested, such as the major role that PSC plays in the management of systemic risks in healthcare like balancing the ‘Conflicting Pressures' of staff personal safety versus delivering quality patient care. In addition, practical implications of our study include three methods by which management and Australian policy makers can mitigate psychosocial risks, enacting a positive change in safety climates that better value frontline worker psychological health.

Source: McLinton, S. S., Dollard, M. F. et Tuckey, M. M. (2018). Safety Science, 109, 236-245.

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