326 individuals completed the questionnaire (response rate 24%). 37% of responders were in their 5th- 6th clinical term, 32% were in their 7th-8th term and 31% were in the 9th-12th term. 69% of students had a specific safety concern in the past four weeks, 48% had observed an error and 68% noticed the violation of a patient safety rule. Though students perceived specific patient safety concerns, 56% did not speak up in a critical situation. All predefined barriers seemed to play an important role in inhibiting students’ voicing concerns. The scores on the psychological safety scale were overall moderately favourable. Students felt little encouraged by colleagues and, in particular, by supervisors to speak up.
Speaking up behaviour of students was assessed for the first time in an Austrian academic teaching hospital. The higher the term the more frequent students reported perceived patient safety concerns or rule violations and withholding voice. These results suggest the need to adapt the curriculum concept of the faculty in order to address patient safety as a relevant topic.
David Schwappach, Gerald Sendlhofer, Lars-Peter Kamolz, Wolfgang Köle, Gernot Brunner