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Relationship Between Work Experience and Safety Climate in Veterans Affairs Nursing Homes Nationwide.

Quach ED, Kazis LE, Zhao S, McDannold SE, Clark VA, Hartmann CW. Relationship Between Work Experience and Safety Climate in Veterans Affairs Nursing Homes Nationwide. Journal of Patient Safety. 2021 Dec 1; 17(8):e1609-e1615.

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OBJECTIVES: Staff values and beliefs about resident safety (safety climate) represent one potential driver of nursing home safety. Staff with more work experience (length of service) may possess richer knowledge of resident safety for strengthening safety climate. We investigated the association of length of service with safety climate in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs nursing homes or Community Living Centers (CLCs). METHODS: Fifty-six of 134 CLCs participated in 2017 and then 2018 in the previously validated CLC Employee Survey of Attitudes about Resident Safety, which comprised 7 safety climate domains and employee characteristics. We conducted 2 cross-sectional analyses of length of service on each safety climate domain, controlling for occupation, shift, work hours, and clustering by VA hospital, service network, and geographic region, in mixed random-effect regression models. RESULTS: A total of 1397 and 1645 staff participated in the survey (26% and 28% response rates) at round 1 and 2, respectively. At each round participants working greater than 6 months were less positive than those working less than 6 months about supervisor commitment to safety, coworker interactions around safety, and CLC global ratings. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in work experience contributed to incongruence in perceptions about supervisors, coworkers, and the facility. Workers with more experience may have higher perceived job aptitude and thus higher expectations of supervisory recognition and more criticisms of coworkers. Pairing experienced workers with newer ones may narrow the knowledge gap and increase collaboration. Huddles, team meetings, and organizational initiatives represent opportunities to recognize and leverage experienced workers' accumulated safety knowledge.

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