Speaking up about patient safety in psychiatric hospitals - a cross-sectional survey study among healthcare staff.

Schwappach, David L. B.; Niederhauser, Andrea (2019). Speaking up about patient safety in psychiatric hospitals - a cross-sectional survey study among healthcare staff. International journal of mental health nursing, 28(6), pp. 1363-1373. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/inm.12664

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Speaking up is an important communication strategy to prevent patient harm. The aim of this study was to examine speak up-related behaviour and climate for the first time in psychiatric hospitals. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among healthcare workers (HCWs) in six psychiatric hospitals with nine sites in Switzerland. Measures assessed speak up-related behaviour with 11 items organized in three scales (the frequency of perceived safety concerns, the frequency of withholding voice, and the frequency of speaking up). Speak up-related climate was assessed by 11 items organized in 3 subscales (psychological safety for speaking up, encouraging environment for speaking up, and resignation). Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, reliability, correlations and multiple regression analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and analysis of variance for comparing mean scores between professional groups. A total of 817 questionnaires were completed (response rate: 23%). In different items, 45%-65% of HCWs reported perceived safety concerns at least once during the past four weeks. Withholding voice was reported by 13-25% of HCWs, and speaking up was reported by 53%-72% of HCWs. Systematic differences in scores were found between professional groups (nurses, doctors, psychologists) and hierarchical groups (lower vs higher status). The vignette showed that hierarchical level and perceived risk of harm for the patient were significant predictors for the self-reported likelihood to speak up. Situations triggering safety concerns occur frequently in psychiatric hospitals. Speaking up and voicing concerns should be further promoted as an important safety measure.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Schwappach, David


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Andrea Flükiger-Flückiger

Date Deposited:

29 Oct 2019 11:55

Last Modified:

15 Nov 2019 01:32

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Hospitals Psychiatric communication organizational culture patient safety surveys and questionnaires





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