September 15, 2021

How to Foster a Positive Safety Culture in Your Acute Care Facility


According to a recent study by John’s Hopkins, more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year because of medical mistakes. Patients in acute care settings are at an even higher risk for complications due to their complex and severe medical conditions. To improve patient safety, acute healthcare leaders must establish and embrace a positive safety culture. As defined by the ECRI, a safety culture is a combination of an organization’s attitudes and behaviors that promote patient safety and minimize harm.

Here are some areas your acute care team can focus on to establish a positive safety culture and improve patient care.

Culture is a product of what is done on a consistent basis, so managers who demonstrate their commitment to patient safety through everyday actions are the most important factor for creating a strong safety culture. Nurses and other team members measure how highly their organization values safety by what their leaders do, not what they say should be done.

Short-term memory is limited when large amounts of information are communicated. Standardizing and simplifying processes decreases the need to rely on one’s memory, which reduces human error and improves patient safety. Nurse scheduling software, for example, not only simplifies scheduling for managers and nurses, it also can take manually performing staffing calculations off nurse managers – ensuring proper shift coverage.

Poor communication not only leads to dissatisfaction among nurses, but it has also been linked with poor patient outcomes. The Joint Commission found that inadequate communication accounts for two thirds of sentinel events in healthcare. Providing management and personnel with communication tools such as a staff scheduling app, promotes autonomy for nurses and gives managers a means to effectively share important information with staff.

The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing recognizes that learning about patient safety should begin in pre-licensure programs and be an integral part of learning in all phases of nursing education. To maintain compliance with state and federal regulations, acute care facilities should make an employee schedule that includes safety education and keep records of training and certifications. Some facilities use nurse scheduling software that alerts managers of impending license or training expiration and renewal dates to further reduce the risk of legal exposure.

Acute care managers recognize that proper nurse-to-patient ratios result in better clinical outcomes and a safer work environment. To help ensure proper staffing levels, many organizations have adopted online nurse scheduling software that calculates staffing levels based on their specific scheduling requirements. A staff scheduling app also allows managers to instantly see how many people or hours are scheduled by position, shift, skill, or department.

Building a culture of safety for your acute care facility doesn’t happen overnight, but through education, communication, and leadership, your team can easily start laying the foundation. Tools such as healthcare staff scheduling software provide additional support that will foster a positive environment which allows your staff to provide high-quality patient care in a safe acute care setting.

Are you interested in learning how ScheduleAnywhere nurse scheduling software can simplify processes and improve safety for your managers and employees? Contact us today!

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