Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 3, P187-194, September 2013

Perceptions of clinical safety climate of the multicultural nursing workforce in Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional survey

  • Adel F. Almutairi
    Corresponding author. Current address: King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre (KAIMRC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Tel.: +966 1 25220088; mobile: +966 555900336.
    School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

    King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre (KAIMRC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
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  • Glenn Gardner
    School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology & Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

    Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
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  • Alexandra McCarthy
    School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

    Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
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Published:September 10, 2012DOI:



      The purpose of this study is to explore the safety climate perceptions of the multicultural nursing workforce, and to investigate the influence of diversity of the multicultural nursing workforce on clinical safety in a large tertiary hospital in Saudi Arabia.


      Working in a multicultural environment is challenging. Each culture has its own unique characteristics and dimensions that shape the language, lifestyle, beliefs, values, customs, traditions, and patterns of behaviour, which expatriate nurses must come to terms with. However, cultural diversity in the health care environment can potentially affect the quality of care and patient safety.


      A mixed-method case study (survey, interview and document analysis) was employed. A primary study phase entailed the administration of the Safety Climate Survey (SCS). A population sampling strategy was used and 319 nurses participated, yielding a 76.8% response rate. Descriptive and inferential statistics (Kruskal–Wallis test) were used to analyse survey data.


      The data revealed the nurses’ perceptions of the clinical safety climate in this multicultural environment was unsafe, with a mean score of 3.9 out of 5. No significant difference was found between the age groups, years of nursing experience and their perceptions of the safety climate in this context. A significant difference was observed between the national background categories of nurses and perceptions of safety climate.


      Cultural diversity within the nursing workforce could have a significant influence on perceptions of clinical safety. These findings have the potential to inform policy and practice related to cultural diversity in Saudi Arabia.


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