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Safety culture: the Nottingham Veterinary Safety Culture Survey (NVSCS)

Oxtoby, C.; Mossop, Liz; White, Kate; Ferguson, Eamonn

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C. Oxtoby

Liz Mossop

Professor of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia

Professor of Health Psychology


Safety culture is a vital concept in human healthcare because of its influence on staff behaviours in relation to patient safety. Understanding safety culture is essential to ensure the acceptance and sustainability of changes, such as the introduction of safe surgery checklists. While widely studied and assessed in human medicine, there is no tool for its assessment in veterinary medicine. This paper therefore presents initial data on such an assessment: the Nottingham Veterinary Safety Culture Survey (NVSCS). 350 pilot surveys were distributed to practising vets and nurses. The survey was also available online. 229 surveys were returned (65 per cent response rate) and 183 completed online, resulting in 412 surveys for analysis. Four domains were identified: (1) organisational safety systems and behaviours, (2) staff perceptions of management, (3) risk perceptions and (4) teamwork and communication. Initial indications of the reliability and the validity of the final survey are presented. Although early in development, the resulting 29-item NVSCS is presented as a tool for measuring safety culture in veterinary practices with implications for benchmarking, safety culture assessment and teamwork training.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 12, 2017
Publication Date May 13, 2017
Deposit Date Jul 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jul 3, 2017
Journal Veterinary Record
Print ISSN 0042-4900
Electronic ISSN 2042-7670
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 180
Issue 19
Public URL
Publisher URL


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