A case for safety leadership team training of hospital managers

Health Care Manage Rev. 2011 Apr-Jun;36(2):188-200. doi: 10.1097/HMR.0b013e318208cd1d.


Background: Delivering safe patient care remains an elusive goal. Resolving problems in complex organizations like hospitals requires managers to work together. Safety leadership training that encourages managers to exercise learning-oriented, team-based leadership behaviors could promote systemic problem solving and enhance patient safety. Despite the need for such training, few programs teach multidisciplinary groups of managers about specific behaviors that can enhance their role as leadership teams in the realm of patient safety.

Purpose: The aims of this study were to describe a learning-oriented, team-based, safety leadership training program composed of reinforcing exercises and to provide evidence confirming the need for such training and demonstrating behavior change among management groups after training.

Methods: Twelve groups of managers from an academic medical center based in the Northeast United States were randomly selected to participate in the program and exposed to its customized, experience-based, integrated, multimodal curriculum. We extracted data from transcripts of four training sessions over 15 months with groups of managers about the need for the training in these groups and change in participants' awareness, professional behaviors, and group activity.

Findings: Training transcripts confirmed the need for safety leadership team training and provided evidence of the potential for training to increase targeted behaviors. The training increased awareness and use of leadership behaviors among many managers and led to new routines and coordinated effort among most management groups. Enhanced learning-oriented leadership often helped promote a learning orientation in managers' work areas.

Practice implications: Team-based training that promotes specific learning-oriented leader behaviors can promote behavioral change among multidisciplinary groups of hospital managers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / standards
  • Female
  • Hospital Administrators / education*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / methods*
  • Institutional Management Teams
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • New England
  • Safety Management*