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Key Components of Safety

Information updated February 2022 by the APNA Council for Safe Environments.

The APNA Council for Safe Environments (CSE) collects and shares resources to help psychiatric-mental health nurses define safe environments, identify their key components, and implement strategies within their workplace. As the Steering Committee for the Council for Safe Environments, psychiatric mental health nurses rely on us to inform them. To carry this mission forward, each key component of safety has been updated with the most recent literature available, along with some older, yet timeless articles that have informed our specialty for many years. The goal is to support the psychiatric -mental health nurse in creating and applying evidence-based patient care plans.

The evidence demonstrates that creating safe environments that support positive patient outcomes must incorporate a multi-faceted approach. In updating the following key components of safety, we hope to convey that many of these elements are interrelated and share commonalities.

We believe that a true culture of safety must include engagement as its main tenet, as the concept of patient engagement via the therapeutic nurse -patient relationship is central to each key element in some way.

In order to provide the most holistic, respectful and safe care, the psychiatric mental health nurse may need to “balance” and analyze the effects of one key component on another. For example, patient safety systems are essential, but not at the expense of engagement with the patient. Further, engagement cannot be successful without a culture change, and culture change cannot be successful without leadership commitment.