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Background: It is widely recognised that improvement of patient safety requires the engagement of senior leaders. Research to date has reported the impact that patient safety leadership WalkRounds can have onsafety culture. What has not beenreported are the complex social processes that underpin WalkRounds. It is our conjecture that by having a better understanding of these we will begin to answer the question of how best to engage senior leaders in patient safety. Methodology/approach: All 20 organisations participating in Phase 2 of the UK NHS Safer Patients Initiative were involved in this research. Qualitative analysis was performed of 56 interviews, including a clinical lead, an executive and a coordinator in each organisation focusing specifically on WalkRounds. Transcripts were analysed using first an inductive approach and then a thematic analysis. Findings: The research found that although they are a simple concept, WalkRounds reveal much about an organisation, its people and its leadership. Importantly, WalkRounds can help executives to learn about their organisation, their leadership style and their attitudes. The research indicates the need to develop a process beyond WalkRounds that helps executives to understand their organisations and enables them to articulate and deal with difficult managerial concerns. © 2008 Radcliffe Publishing.


Journal article


International Journal of Clinical Leadership

Publication Date





185 - 192