Safety attitudes in hospital emergency departments: a systematic review Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose The purpose of this paper is to perform and report a systematic review of published research on patient safety attitudes of health staff employed in hospital emergency departments (EDs). Design/methodology/approach An electronic search was conducted of PsychINFO, ProQuest, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed and CINAHL databases. The review included all studies that focussed on the safety attitudes of professional hospital staff employed in EDs. Findings Overall, the review revealed that the safety attitudes of ED health staff are generally low, especially on teamwork and management support and among nurses when compared to doctors. Conversely, two intervention studies showed the effectiveness of team building interventions on improving the safety attitudes of health staff employed in EDs. Research limitations/implications Six studies met the inclusion criteria, however, most of the studies demonstrated low to moderate methodological quality. Originality/value Teamwork, communication and management support are central to positive safety attitudes. Teamwork training can improve safety attitudes. Given that EDs are the “front-line” of hospital care and patients within EDs are especially vulnerable to medical errors, future research should focus on the safety attitudes of medical staff employed in EDs and its relationship to medical errors.

publication date

  • 2019