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A National Study of Patient Safety Culture in Hospitals in Sweden

Danielsson, Marita RN, MSc*†; Nilsen, Per MSc, PhD; Rutberg, Hans MD, PhD; Årestedt, Kristofer RN, PhD‡§

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000369
Original Article: PDF Only

Objective Using the Hospital Survey on Patient Culture, our aim was to investigate the patient safety culture in all Swedish hospitals and to compare the culture among managers, physicians, registered nurses, and enrolled nurses and to identify factors associated with high overall patient safety.

Methods The study used a correlational design based on cross-sectional surveys from health care practitioners in Swedish health care (N = 23,781). We analyzed the associations between overall patient safety (outcome variable) and 12 culture dimensions and 5 background characteristics (explanatory variables). Simple logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the bivariate association between each explanatory variable and the outcome variable. The explanatory variables were entered to determine the multivariate associations between the variables and the outcome variable.

Results The highest rated culture dimensions were “teamwork within units” and “nonpunitive response to error,” and the lowest rated dimensions were “management support for patient safety” and “staffing.” The multivariate analysis showed that long professional experience (>15 years) was associated with increased probability for high overall patient safety. Compared with general wards, the probability for high overall patient safety was higher for emergency care but lower for psychiatric care. The probability for high overall patient safety was higher for both enrolled nurses and physicians compared with managers.

Conclusions The safety culture dimensions of the Hospital Survey on Patient Culture contributed far more to overall patient safety than the background characteristics, suggesting that these dimensions are very important in efforts to improve the overall patient safety culture.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

From the *Chief Medical Office, Region of Östergötland, Linköping; †Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping; ‡Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar; and §The Research Unit, Kalmar County Hospital, Kalmar, Sweden.

Correspondence: Marita Danielsson, RN, MSc, Chief Medical Office, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden (e-mail:

The authors disclose no conflict of interest.

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