Improving staff perception of a safety climate with crew resource management training

J Surg Res. 2017 Jun 1;213:177-183. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2016.04.013. Epub 2016 Apr 23.


Background: Communication failure is one of the top root causes in patient safety adverse events. Crew resource management (CRM) is a team building communication process intended to improve patient safety by improving team dynamics. First, to describe implementation of CRM in a Veterans Affair (VA) surgical service. Second, to assess whether staff CRM training is related to improvement in staff perception of a safety climate.

Material and methods: Mandatory CRM training was implemented for all surgical service staff at a VA Hospital at 0 and 12 mo. Safety climate questionnaires were completed by operating room staff at a baseline, 6 and 12 mo after the initial CRM training.

Results: Participants reported improvement on all 27 points on the safety climate questionnaire at 6 mo compared with the baseline. At 12 mo, there was sustained improvement in 23 of the 27 areas.

Conclusions: This is the first published report about the effect of CRM training on staff perception of a safety climate in a VA surgical service. We demonstrate that CRM training can be successfully implemented widespread in a surgical program. Overall, there was improvement in 100% of areas assessed on the safety climate questionnaire at 6 mo after CRM training. By 1 y, this improvement was sustained in 23 of 27 areas, with the areas of greatest improvement being the performance of briefings, collaboration between nurses and doctors, valuing nursing input, knowledge about patient safety, and institutional promotion of a patient safety climate.

Keywords: Crew resource management training; Patient safety; Quality improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / methods
  • Hospitals, Veterans / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Louisiana
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Simulation Training
  • Surgery Department, Hospital / organization & administration