Patient involvement in patient safety: the health-care professional's perspective

J Patient Saf. 2012 Dec;8(4):182-8. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e318267c4aa.


Background: Despite increasing recognition that patients could play an important role in promoting the safety of their care, little is known on this issue regarding health-care professionals' (HCPs') attitudes toward patient involvement.

Objectives: To investigate physicians' and nurses' attitudes toward patient involvement in safety-related behaviors, both through their eyes as a health-care professional and as a potential patient.

Design: Cross-sectional exploratory study using 2 surveys. Survey 1 addressed HCPs' attitudes toward supporting patient participation in safety-related behaviors. Survey 2 addressed HCPs' reported willingness to participate in safety-related behaviors (as a patient).

Participants: Eighty health-care professionals (40 physicians and 40 nurses) from an inner city London teaching hospital.

Findings: Attitudes were affected by the type of behavior, who the HCP is interacting with, and the participants own professional role. Overall, both professions held positive attitudes toward patient involvement, although in general, nurses versus physicians were more willing to both support patient involvement and participate themselves as a patient.

Conclusion: Compared with other research on "lay" patients' attitudes, our data suggest that when HCPs are patients in hospital, they may be more willing to participate in safety-related behaviors. Promisingly, our data also suggest HCPs are willing to support patient involvement in safety-related behaviors, which may suggest they are happy to participate in interventions aimed at encouraging patient involvement in this area. Further in-depth research is needed to investigate the roles that HCPs (as both a patient and HCP) believe are appropriate for patients to participate in, under what circumstances and why.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Professional-Patient Relations