Patient Safety Walkrounds: Leaders’ Counterproductive Attitudes, Behaviors

March 19, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Interviews with 11 senior leaders and 33 frontline staff members regarding patient safety walkrounds at two Canadian teaching hospitals revealed that senior leaders exhibited attitudes and behaviors that were contrary to the walkrounds programs' principles and goals, reports a qualitative study published online January 9, 2014, in BMJ Quality and Safety. Senior leaders discussed the positive, broad principles of leadership walkrounds, but further probing revealed counterproductive leadership attitudes at both organizations. The researchers identified three common themes. First, senior leaders had "nominal" respect for staff concerns. Half said that frontline staff brought up issues that had nothing to do with patient safety (e.g., environmental issues). Some felt that they understood patient safety matters better than frontline staff; a few described staff concerns as "stupid" or "trash."

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