Archive for the ‘I-O Psychology’ Category

Review of “Do Strikes Kill?”

In I-O Psychology, Patient Safety, Resiliency, Safety climate on May 6, 2011 at 9:25 am

Healthcare workers have had the right to strike since 1974. By 2008 there were over one million hospital union workers.  While other industries had declining union memberships, hospital employees’ unionization is growing (Gruber & Kleiner, 2010).

Do Strikes Kill is the provocative title of a working paper by Jonathan Gruber and Sam Kleiner (MIT and Carnegie Mellon).

All hospital employees are imperative to providing safety in a hospital environment, but the authors looked at nurses in particular. They cite Kruger & Metzger (2002) when they describe that nurses function as “the surveillance system of hospitals for detection and intervention when patients deteriorate, and are viewed by many patients as more important to their total recuperation process than their own attending.”  Another CEO was quoted as describing nurses as “the heart and soul of a hospital” (Gruber & Kleiner, 2010).

Given this integral role for nursing, the authors sought to determine the impact on safety and quality in the events of nursing work stoppages. They looked at data over a 20 year period in New York State.  For patients admitted to hospitals during a nursing strike, the authors found MORTALITY increased by 19.4% and readmissions within 30 days increased by 6.5%.

I recommend purchasing this relevant study for $5 at the National Bureau of Economic Research website:

To understand the safety implications for your own institutions, it is important to look at the details of this study and not just the overall results.

At one time, Industrial-Organizational psychologists were employed as union “avoidance consultants.”  They had success through improving the work environment for employees.  While labor lawyers can be a resource for a hospital in interpreting labor laws, an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist can combine theory and practice to improve culture, employee satisfaction, teamwork, front line empowerment, training, leadership approaches and development, quality and many other workplace happiness indicators.  It’s the right thing to do but also Happy Employees aren’t likely to strike.

2010 SIOP Leading Edge Consortium (LEC)

In I-O Psychology, Patient Safety, Safety climate, Teamwork on October 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

It is 88 degrees in Tampa as day one kicks off for the SIOP LEC on Developing and Enhancing High Performance Teams.
The amazing speakers: I will list their names and content and the thoughts they have provoked in me from a safety dog perspective.

Gary Latham the co-chair of the LEC gave an inspiring introduction about the purpose of these LECs as not only to hear great speakers but also to compare notes as practitioners. more: Read the rest of this entry »

History of motion studies

In I-O Psychology on October 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm

One way to help create safety in the environment is to look at the system through motion studies. These can be of staff or of patients. Some of the earliest motion studies were done in the early 1900s by the husband and wife team of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The Gilbreths were the inspiration for the characters in the movie and novel, Cheaper by the Dozen.

You can watch some of the Gilbreths’ early motion study videos here

Just wait until next week!

In I-O Psychology, Patient Safety, Teamwork on October 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I won’t have much to say this week as I am just starting back to class. This semester I am taking Psychology of Organizational Ergonomics in the Workplace.

Next week however, I will be live-blogging from sunny Florida at the LEC (Leading Edge Consortium). This year’s topics center around developing and enhancing high performance teams.
I am particularly excited to hear presentations particular to healthcare from:
•Heidi King, Dept of Defense Patient Safety Program: Using Teamwork to Build a Culture of Safety in Healthcare: The DoD Journey
•Michael West, Aston University, UK: I-O Psychology in Health Care Services – the UK National Health Service.
•Eduardo Salas, University of Central Florida: Evidence-Based Solutions for Team Development: Competencies and Learning Strategies

Stay tuned!

Stressors, Strains and Moderators

In I-O Psychology on September 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Since staff stress is often mentioned in regard to safety issues in healthcare I thought I would post an overview of some theories of stress.

General Adaptation Syndrome
Seyle identified what is known as the stress response (Landy & Conte, 2010). This response follows the same process in humans whether the source of the stressor is physiological or psychological. This process is known as General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) and has three stages (Landy & Conte, 2010). In the alarm reaction stage the body prepares to deal with the stressor by releasing hormones that control processes such as heart rate. In the resistance stage the body focuses on the original stressor and copes with that, however responses to any other stressors are lowered (Landy & Conte, 2010). The final stage is exhaustion and in this stage the body decreases all responses to stress (including the original source) and becomes susceptible to psychological and physiological diseases/syndromes (Landy & Conte, 2010). One of the consequences of this stage in terms of the workplace can be the development of burnout. Burnout is an extreme state of psychological Read the rest of this entry »

A bit of I-O Psychology History

In I-O Psychology on September 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm

In Psychology, all roads lead to Ancient Greece. The discipline of Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology can trace its roots to Plato’s The Republic when he classifies citizens into guardians, auxiliaries and workers and gives selection and training advice (Katzell & Austin, 1992). In the book of Exodus, Moses sought advice on how to organize the ancient Israelis (Katzell & Austin, 1992). The study and employment of I-O Psychology principles similar to those used today however, really began in the early 1900s (Katzell & Austin, 1992).
Hugo Munsterberg, a professor at Harvard, Read the rest of this entry »


In I-O Psychology on September 13, 2010 at 7:30 pm

The link to this amazing resource is pinned at the bottom of this site. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out maybe the impressive list of journals from which they select their comentaries will entice you!
Click for larger view

Is there an I-O Psychologist in the house?

In I-O Psychology on August 30, 2010 at 1:27 am

The I-O Psychologist as an Error Prevention Specialist.  There is so much an I-O Psychologist could bring to the hospital environment. Hospitals are complex and usually large organizations that have great needs for human resource management, training and development programs, team functioning, leadership competency and safety processes. While of these areas are certainly within the scope of I-O Psychology, one role that would be especially well-suited for the skill and knowledge that an I-O Psychologist possesses would relate to safety in the realm of human factors and engineering……. Read the rest of this entry »

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