Graduate School of Nursing Dissertations

Publication Date


Document Type

Dissertation, Doctoral


Graduate School of Nursing

Dissertation Committee Chair

Susan Sullivan-Bolyai


Nurses’ Aides, Attitude of Health Personnel, Nursing Homes, Outcome Assessment (Health Care), Safety Management, Organizational Culture

Subject Categories



Patient safety culture (PSC) is a critical factor in creating high reliability healthcare organizations. However, few studies to date have correlated PSC measures with actual safety outcomes. In particular, nursing home studies have only recently appeared in the literature. Nursing homes differ from hospitals in that the vast majority of direct care is provided by certified nursing assistants (CNAs), not licensed nurses. Thus nursing home PSC could differ in important ways from PSC in acute care institutions.

This dissertation was a secondary data analysis that examined whether CNAs’ perceptions of patient safety culture were correlated with clinical outcomes in a random sample of 74 nursing homes in five randomly selected states. This study matched CNA PSC survey data using the Hospital Survey of Patient Safety Culture (HSOPSC) with Minimum Data Set (MDS), Area Resource File (ARF) and Online Survey Certification and Reporting (OSCAR) data from those same homes during the first two quarters of 2005. In the original study, 1579 nurse aides out of 2872 completed the survey, for a 55% response rate.

In addition to clinical outcomes, this study examined the relationship between CNA PSC scores and staff turnover. The relationship between certain demographic variables, such as level of education, tenure as a CNA, and PSC scores was evaluated. The relationship between certain facility characteristics, such as profit status and bed occupancy was also assessed. An exploratory factor analysis of the original HSOPSC instrument was re-run for this nursing home CNA sample.

Data were analyzed using Poisson regression and multilevel techniques; descriptive statistics were compiled for demographic data. Major findings from the regression analyses and combined GEE models suggest that certain factors, such as CNA turnover and LPN staffing may predict CNA PSC scores. CNA PSC scores were associated with rates of falls and restraint use, but were not associated with differences in pressure ulcer rates in this sample. Few associations for CNA PSC with individual subscales were identified. The exploratory factor analysis revealed some potential differences in how items and subscales factored in this nursing home CNA population.

This dissertation represents an important step in the evaluation of CNA PSC in nursing homes and the relationship of PSC to safety outcomes. Future work on nursing home PSC and clinical and workforce outcomes is described.



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