Exploring the influence of workplace supports and relationships on safe medication practice: A pilot study of Australian graduate nurses

Nurse Educ Today. 2015 May;35(5):e21-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2015.01.012. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Background: Despite the growing awareness of the benefits of positive workplace climates, unsupportive and disruptive workplace behaviours are widespread in health care organisations. Recent graduate nurses, who are often new to a workplace, are particularly vulnerable in unsupportive climates, and are also recognised to be at higher risk for medication errors.

Objectives: Investigate the association between workplace supports and relationships and safe medication practice among graduate nurses.

Design and participants: Exploratory study using quantitative survey with a convenience sample of 58 nursing graduates in two Australian States.

Methods: Online survey focused on graduates' self-reported medication errors, safe medication practice and the nature of workplace supports and relationships.

Results: Spearman's correlations identified that unsupportive workplace relationships were inversely related to graduate nurse medication errors and erosion of safe medication practices, while supportive Nurse Unit Manager and supportive work team relationships positively influenced safe medication practice among graduates.

Conclusions: Workplace supports and relationships are potentially both the cause and solution to graduate nurse medication errors and safe medication practices. The findings develop further understanding about the impact of unsupportive and disruptive behaviours on patient safety and draw attention to the importance of undergraduate and continuing education strategies that promote positive workplace behaviours and graduate resilience.

Keywords: Disruptive behaviours; Graduate; Medication administration; Nursing workforce; Workplace bullying.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Bullying
  • Education, Nursing, Graduate*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Medication Errors / psychology*
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Patient Safety
  • Pilot Projects
  • Workplace / psychology*