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infectious diseases, patient safety, perception of biological risks, professional practices



  1. Bernard, Laurence PhD, RN
  2. Bernard, Agnes PhD, MHA, MSc, RN, TQM
  3. Biron, Alain PhD, RN
  4. Lavoie-Tremblay, Melanie PhD, RN


Patient safety has become a worldwide concern in relation to infectious diseases (Ebola/severe acute respiratory syndrome/flu). During the pandemic, different sanitary responses were documented between Europe and North America in terms of vaccination and compliance with infection prevention and control measures. The purpose of this study was to explore the health care professionals' perceptions of biological risks, patient safety, and their practices in European and Canadian health care facilities. A qualitative-descriptive design was used to explore the perceptions of biological risks and patient safety practices among health care professionals in 3 different facilities. Interviews (n = 39) were conducted with health care professionals in Canada and Europe. The thematic analysis pinpointed 3 main themes: risk and infectious disease, patient safety, and occupational health and safety. These themes fit within safety cultures described by participants: individual culture, blame culture, and collaborative culture. The preventive terminology used in the European health care facility focuses on hospital hygiene from the perspective of environmental risk (individual culture). In Canadian health care facilities, the focus was on risk management for infection prevention either from a punitive perspective (blame culture) or from a collaborative perspective (collaborative culture). This intercultural dialogue described the contextual realities on different continents regarding the perceptions of health care professionals about risks and infections.