Patient transfer skills and safety culture

Nanna S. Hellesø, Bente Nordtug, Hildfrid V. Brataas


Background: Nursing practice includes a lot of patient handling and transfer movement, with high risk of work related back injuries. The article discusses employee perspectives on the meaning of a multi-component intervention and its impact on ergonomic patient transfer practice and safety culture.

Method: This was a qualitative study using content analysis approach. Data were answers to open questions about patient transfer practice and the meaning of a multi-component intervention carried out in one Norwegian municipality. Research focus were on patient transfer skills, safety culture, and psychosocial climate at the workplace. Data gathered one and a half year after termination of the intervention. Purposive sampling included sixty-one health care personnel. All had been participating in the intervention.

Results: The analysis revealed the theme “Competence, practice and health impact” with sub themes “Measures facilitates change” and “Influence over time”. The intervention seemed to promote a safety climate with positive impact on employees’ health. Further, the transfer movements were more comfortable and safe for the patients and they became more self-reliant. Comprehensive, educational, and technical measures facilitated for change. After intervention termination, the intervention had persistent influence over time on daily ergonomic patient transfer practices. Findings also revealed some challenges.

Conclusion: The findings shed light on impact of management that focus on comprehensive educational measures for an entire staff at a local work place. The study do not provide transferability to other contexts, but nurse leaders can use study findings to inform their efforts on learning and culture change among the workforce.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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