Factors affecting nurses' perceptions of patient safety

Ari Mwachofi (Department of Health Administration and Policy, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA)
Stephen L. Walston (Department of Health Administration and Policy, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA)
Badran A. Al‐Omar (King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Publication date: 3 May 2011



Nurses heavily influence patient care quality and safety. This paper aims to examine socioeconomic and organizational/system factors affecting patient safety and quality perceptions.


A questionnaire was constructed to gather demographic, managerial support, information technology implementation and integration information. Data were collected from nurses in five Riyadh hospitals, Saudi Arabia. Registered nurses working in hospital departments participated in the survey. A total of 566 completed questionnaires were returned. Subsequent data were analyzed through binary logistic regression.


Factors that improve patient safety and the likelihood that nurses use their own facility include: fewer visible errors; ability to communicate suggestions; information technology support and training; and a confidential error reporting system.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was a cross‐sectional study. Consequently, it is difficult to establish causation. Furthermore, nursing in these hospitals is dominated by foreign nationals. Also, as with all surveys, this research may be subject to response bias. Although the questionnaire was randomly distributed, there were no mechanisms to assure privacy and minimize peer influence. The high positive patient safety perceptions may be influenced by either individual or peer biases.

Practical implications

Nurses are important communicators; especially about hospital safety and quality. The research informs leaders about areas that need considering and improving. Findings indicate that system factors, including functional feedback, suggestions, and error reporting significantly affect patient safety improvements. Likewise, nurse education to operate their information systems has positive effects. Healthcare leaders need to understand factors that affect patient safety perceptions when creating a patient safety culture.


Few international articles examine the factors that influence nurses' patient safety perceptions or examine those factors that affect these perceptions. This paper adds value by researching what influences patient safety perceptions among Riyadh nurses.



Mwachofi, A., Walston, S. and Al‐Omar, B. (2011), "Factors affecting nurses' perceptions of patient safety", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 274-283. https://doi.org/10.1108/09526861111125589

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