Perioperative nurses' experiences in relation to surgical patient safety: A qualitative study

Nurs Inq. 2021 Apr;28(2):e12390. doi: 10.1111/nin.12390. Epub 2020 Nov 5.


Surgical patient safety remains a concern worldwide as, despite World Health Organization recommendations and implementation of its Surgical Safety Checklist, adverse events continue to occur. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the views and experiences of perioperative nurses regarding the factors that impact surgical patient safety. Data were collected through five focus groups involving a total of 50 perioperative nurses recruited from four public hospitals in Spain. Content analysis of the focus groups yielded four main themes: personal qualities of the perioperative nurse, the surgical environment, safety culture, and perioperative nursing care plans. One of the main findings concerned barriers to the exercise of leadership by nurses, especially regarding completion of the Surgical Safety Checklist. Some of the key factors that impacted the ability of perioperative nurses to fulfil their duties and ensure patient safety were the stress associated with working in the operating room, time pressures, and ineffective communication in the multidisciplinary team. Targeting these aspects through training initiatives could contribute to the professional development of perioperative nurses and reduce the incidence of adverse events by enhancing the surgical safety culture.

Keywords: focus group; medical errors; nursing care; patient safety; perioperative nursing; surgical procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups / methods
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Patient Safety / standards*
  • Perioperative Nursing / standards
  • Perioperative Nursing / trends
  • Qualitative Research
  • Spain