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A psychologically safe environment for healthcare teams is desirable for optimal team performance, team member well-being, and favorable patient safety outcomes. This piece explores facilitators of and barriers to psychological safety across healthcare settings. Future research directions examining psychological safety in healthcare are discussed.

Shao Q, Wang Y, Hou K, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;77:4005-4016.
Patient suicide in all settings is considered a never event. Nurses caring for the patient may experience negative psychological symptoms following inpatient suicide. This review identified five themes based on nurses’ psychological experiences: emotional experience, cognitive experience, coping strategies, self-reflection, and impact on self and practice. Hospital administrators should develop education and support programs to help nurses cope in the aftermath of inpatient suicide.  
Mills PD, Soncrant C, Gunnar W. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:567-576.
This retrospective analysis used root cause analysis reports of suicide events in VA hospitals to characterize suicide attempts and deaths and provide prevention recommendations. Recommendations include avoidance of environmental hazards, medication monitoring, control of firearms, and close observation.
Salas E, Bisbey TM, Traylor AM, et al. Ann Rev Org Psychol Org Behav. 2020;7:283-313.
This review discusses the importance of teamwork in supporting safety, psychological states driving effective safety performance, organizational- and team-level characteristics impacting safety performance, and the role of teams in safety management.
Martin GP, Chew S, Dixon-Woods M. Health (London). 2021;25:757-774.
After findings of gross negligence, the National Health Service (NHS) introduced ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardians’ to lead safety culture change with the ultimate goal that speaking up about safety issues becomes the norm. The authors used semi-structured interviews with 51 individuals (e.g., Guardians, clinicians, policymakers/regulators, etc.) to describe the rollout of the Guardians. These interviews revealed that the role of the Guardians is rich in potential but that the initial narrow role of addressing only quality and safety concerns was not consistent with the myriad of complex issues brought to them and may indicate the need to expand the role definition.
Thibaut BI, Dewa LH, Ramtale SC, et al. BMJ Open. 2019;9:e030230.
This exploratory systematic review aimed to describe the state of the research on patient safety in inpatient mental health settings. Authors included 364 papers, representing 31 countries and data from over 150,000 participants. The existing research base was categorized into ten broad safety categories – interpersonal violence, coercive interventions, safety culture, harm to self, safety of the physical environment, medication safety, unauthorized leave, clinical decision making, falls, and infection prevention/control; papers were of varying quality with the majority of papers assessed as “fair”. The authors note that several areas of patient safety in inpatient mental health are particularly understudied, such as suicide, as the review only yielded one study meeting inclusion criteria.
Sajith SG, Fung D, Chua HC. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e306-e312.
Trigger tools allow for automated detection of patient harm from electronic health record data. Researchers developed and tested a 25-item trigger tool for mental health settings that identified virtually every adverse event that was found in confirmatory chart review. The authors suggest that this tool may advance safety efforts in inpatient mental health settings.
Mokkenstorm JK, Kerkhof AJFM, Smit JH, et al. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2018;48:745-754.
Suicide in all settings is considered a sentinel event. This commentary describes an aspirational suicide eradication program. The approach combines direct identification of suicidal behavior and treatment, system-focused process improvements, and organizational safety culture as interdependent strategies for eliminating suicide. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed a suicide attempt on an inpatient medical unit.
Shields MC, Stewart MT, Delaney KR. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1853-1861.
Despite concerns regarding the safety and quality of care for hospitalized psychiatric patients, research exploring this area of patient safety is lacking. This commentary suggests several policy-focused strategies to improve the safety and patient-centeredness of inpatient psychiatric care, including payment reforms, incentive alignment, and increased funding for research.
A woman with a history of psychiatric illness presented to the emergency department with agitation, hallucinations, tachycardia, and transient hypoxia. The consulting psychiatric resident attributed the tachycardia and hypoxia to her underlying agitation and admitted her to an inpatient psychiatric facility. Over the next few days, her tachycardia persisted and continued to be attributed to her psychiatric disease. On hospital day 5, the patient was found unresponsive and febrile, with worsening tachycardia, tachypnea, and hypoxia; she had diffuse myoclonus and increased muscle tone.
Sulkers H, Tajirian T, Paterson J, et al. JAMIA Open. 2019;2:35–39.
Electronic health records (EHRs) have been widely adopted as a strategy to improve patient safety. This commentary explores how one hospital used professional standard achievement to motivate medication safety in inpatient mental health settings. The innovation emphasized scanning technologies, direct prescriber order entry, and EHR-generated data analysis as approaches to enhance the reliability of medication processes for this patient base.
Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services; Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
This Web site provides information about Maine's statewide incident reporting initiative and includes annual sentinel event reports.
Bates DW, Larizgoitia I, Prasopa-Plaizier N, et al. BMJ. 2009;338:b1775.
This article describes the results from a group of international clinicians, researchers,and policymakers that identified undeveloped research areas in global patient safety.
St Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health.
The National Quality Forum has defined 29 never events—patient safety problems that should never occur, such as wrong-site surgery and patient falls. Since 2003, Minnesota hospitals have been required to report such incidents. The 2020 report summarizes information about 366 adverse events that were reported, representing a slight increase each year since the reports were first published. Pressure ulcers and fall-related injuries were the most common incidents documented. Reports from previous years are available.

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania. HB957 (2005).

This bill calls for a prohibition of mandatory overtime and limiting the work week to 12 hours a day or 60 hours a week for non-supervisory health care employees in Pennsylvania.  It is presently under consideration by Pennsylvania's General Assembly.