Patient safety climate/culture is attracting increasing research interest, but there is little research on its relation with organizational climates regarding other target domains. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between patient safety climate and occupational safety climate in healthcare.
The climates were assessed using two questionnaires: Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture and Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire. The final sample consisted of 1154 nurses, 886 assistant nurses, and 324 physicians, organized in 150 work units, within hospitals (117units), primary healthcare (5units) and elderly care (28units) in western Sweden, which represented 56% of the original sample contacted.
Within each type of safety climate, two global dimensions were confirmed in a higher order factor analysis; one with an external focus relative the own unit, and one with an internal focus. Two methods were used to estimate the covariation between the global climate dimensions, in order to minimize the influence of bias from common method variance. First multilevel analysis was used for partitioning variances and covariances in a within unit part (individual level) and a between unit part (unit level). Second, a split sample technique was used to calculate unit level correlations based on aggregated observations from different respondents. Both methods showed associations similar in strength between the patient safety climate and the occupational safety climate domains.
The results indicated that patient safety climate and occupational safety climate are strongly positively related at the unit level, and that the same organizational processes may be important for the development of both types of organizational climate.
Safety improvement interventions should not be separated in different organizational processes, but be planned so that both patient safety and staff safety are considered concomitantly.