Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Lisa Haddad

Committee Members

Kenneth Phillips, Laurel Despins, Wendy Nehring


Aim: The aim of this study was to examine if student nurse participation in root cause analysis has the potential to reduce harm to patients from medication errors by increasing student nurse sensitivity to signal and responder bias.

Background: Schools of nursing have traditionally relied on strategies that focus on individual characteristics and responsibility to prevent harm to patients. The modern patient safety movement encourages utilization of systems theory strategies like Root Cause Analysis (RCA). The Patient Risk Detection Theory (Despins, Scott-Cawiezell, & Rouder, 2010) supports the use of nurse training to reduce harm to patients.

Method. Descriptive and inferential analyses of the demographic and major study variables were conducted. Validity and reliability assessments for the instruments were performed.

The Safe Administration of Medications-Revised Scale (Bravo, 2014) was used to measure sensitivity to signal. The Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ; Sexton et al., 2006) was used to assess responder bias; this was the first use of this instrument with nursing students.

Results: The sample consisted of 125 senior-level nursing students from three universities in the southeastern United States. The SAQ was found to be a valid and reliable test of safety attitudes in nursing students. Further support for the validity and reliability of the SAM-R was provided. A significant difference in safety climate between schools was observed. There were no differences detected between the variables.

Conclusion: The results of this study provide support for the use of the SAQ and the SAM-R to further test the PRDT, and to explore methods to improve nursing student ability to administer medications safely.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Other Nursing Commons