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CPD modules

The effect of organisational culture on patient safety

Author: Gerri Kaufman, Dorothy McCaughan

Duration: 2 hours Last updated: 2021 Quality Assurance: Peer-reviewed Level: Students, Qualified nurses Language: English

Course description

This module aims to address the effect of organisational culture on patient safety. It draws specifically on examples from the findings of key influential reports where organisational culture has been linked to patient safety issues:

  • The report of the Liverpool Community Health Independent Review (Box 1) (Kirkup 2018)
  • The independent inquiry into care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust (Box 2) (Francis 2010).

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    Learning aims and intended outcomes

    • Describe the key attributes of organisational culture
    • Identify the key components of a safety culture
    • Discuss the effect of leadership, teamwork and an open and fair culture on patient safety
    • Identify the framework used in the NHS to promote quality and safety, and the potential contribution of human factors, and ergonomics principles and methods

  • Syllabus

    • Introduction
    • Culture
    • Organisation and organisational culture
    • Attitudes, values and behaviours
    • Clinical governance
    • Conclusions


    Gerri Kaufman
    Lecturer in health sciences and continuing professional development lead, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York.
    Dorothy McCaughan
    Research fellow, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York.


    Please note that information provided by RCNi Learning is not sufficient to ensure competence in the skill. Assessment of competence should take place in line with local practice. Practice should always align with local protocols and procedures, latest guidelines and any regulatory code. All modules should currently be viewed together with available national and local Covid-19 guidelines. For advice, go to


    • Introduction
    • Culture
    • Organisation and organisational culture
    • Attitudes, values and behaviours
    • Clinical governance
    • Conclusions

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