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Keywords

co-leaders, cooperative norms, interprofessional cooperation, safety climate

 

Authors

  1. Kuntz, Ludwig
  2. Scholten, Nadine
  3. Wilhelm, Hendrik
  4. Wittland, Michael
  5. Hillen, Hendrik Ansgar

Abstract

Background: Safety climate research suggests that a corresponding climate in work units is crucial for patient safety. Intensive care units are usually co-led by a nurse and a physician, who are responsible for aligning an interprofessional workforce and warrant a high level of safety. Yet, little is known about whether and how these interprofessional co-leaders jointly affect their unit's safety climate.

 

Purpose: This empirical study aims to explain differences in the units' safety climate as an outcome of the nurse and physician leaders' degree of shared goals. Specifically, we examine whether the degree to which co-leaders share goals in general fosters a safety climate by pronouncing norms of interprofessional cooperation as a behavioral standard for the team members' interactions.

 

Methodology/Approach: A cross-sectional design was used to gather data from 70 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Germany. Survey data for our variables were collected from the unit's leading nurse and the leading physician, as well as from the unit's nursing and physician team members. Hypotheses testing at unit level was conducted using multivariate linear regression.

 

Results: Our analyses show that the extent to which nurse-physician co-leaders share goals covaries with safety climate in NICUs. This relationship is partially mediated by norms of interprofessional cooperation among NICU team members. Our final model accounts for 54% of the variability in safety climate of NICUs.

 

Conclusion: Increasing the extent to which co-leaders share goals is an effective lever to strengthen interprofessional cooperation and foster a safety climate among nursing and physician team members of hospital units.