Although the amount of workforce with migration background in German healthcare institutions is rising, there is only little known about the influence of heterogeneity on patient safety and what kind of competencies employees in heterogeneous teams need to adequately handle the cultural diversity of their co-workers to ensure a safe working environment.
The study “The Influence of Diversity/Heterogeneity on Patient Safety” is part of the main project “Gestaltungskompetenz as an Innovator for Highly Reliable Organisations in the Healthcare System”. Aim of the study is to identify competencies that enable the workforce to deal with heterogeneity between employees and thereafter use the knowledge to develop an interactive learning environment to train the workforce. Thereby, next to reactive, especially proactive approaches for patient safety will be used. Consequently, the research question of this study is:
“Which competencies do employees of heterogeneous teams (in the sense of cultural sensitivity) need to create a safety culture in hospitals and how can these competencies be facilitated?”
To identify problem areas and a potential demand for competencies of workforce in healthcare institutions, a CIRS data analysis was conducted. The analysis revealed that especially communication demonstrated a challenge for cultural diversity between employees. Further, communication problems led to a change in the working structure and execution and thereby threatened the safety of patients. Additionally, conflicts on a personal level emerged due to misunderstandings.
In the following steps of the project, focus groups with students as well as in hospitals with medical and nursing staff will be performed to identify competencies that enable the workforce to use the potential of cultural diversity. Thereby it is aimed to create a safety culture as well as to overcome upcoming challenges in heterogeneous Teams.