Mindfulness in promoting occupational safety in health care

Dierynck, B. et al. (2017) Medical Care Research and Review. 74(1) pp. 79-96

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Although the importance of safety regulations is highly emphasized in hospitals, nurses frequently work around, or intentionally bypass, safety regulations. We argue that work-arounds occur because adhering to safety regulations usually requires more time and work process design often lacks complementarity with safety regulations.

Our main proposition is that mindfulness is associated with a decrease in occupational safety failures through a decrease in work-arounds. First, we propose that individual mindfulness may prevent the depletion of motivational resources caused by worrying about the consequences of time lost when adhering to safety regulations. Second, we argue that collective mindfulness may provide nursing teams with a cognitive infrastructure that facilitates the detection and adaptation of work processes.

The results of a multilevel analysis of 580 survey responses from nurses are consistent with our propositions. Our multilevel analytic approach enables us to account for the unique variance in work-arounds that individual and collective mindfulness explain.

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