Safety Organizing Scale

julie LaMothe's picture
Submitted by julie LaMothe on Jan 28, 2014 - 12:22pm CST

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The Safety Organizing Scale was developed by Vogus and Sutcliffe at Indiana University School of Nursing and IU school of Medicine. This is a tool that is robust , valid and reliable . We will be using the measuement tool with the NEPQR grant to cultivate IPCP enviroments both in Acute ACC and rural health clinic sites .


Validity and Reliability of the Safety Organizing Scale

The Safety Organizing Scale (SOS) was developed by Dr. Vogus and Dr. Sutcliffe (2007), in response to an increased need to develop a safety culture in healthcare organizations. The tool was created to enhance the understanding of behaviors that contribute to an effective safety culture.  The theoretical basis for the SOS is grounded in case studies of “high-reliability organizations” (HROs).  These organizations include aircraft carrier flight decks as well as nuclear power plants, both of which operate in a relatively error free manner despite conditions that prove to be complex and come with intense time pressure (Vogus & Sutcliffe, 2007).

The SOS was validated using a sample of registered nurses in hospital nursing units. The response rate in the Vogus and Sutcliffe (2007) study was 51.1%. This rate closely resembles that of other published studies that relied on mailed questionnaires. The Safety Organizing Scale provides a reliable self-report measure of behaviors that lead to the emergence of a safety culture. The SOS is also strongly associated with fewer patient falls and reported medication errors. The SOS is a useful tool for understanding interventions designed to improve safety cultures as well as safety outcomes (Vogus & Sutcliffe, 2007).

The Safety Organizing Scale has been tested in multiple settings. The SOS-NH is a nursing home version tested in 13 nursing homes resulting in good response patterns and discriminate validity related to communication openness (Ausserhofer, Anderson, Colon-Emeric, & Schwendimann, 2013). Between October 2009 and June 2010, SOS was translated and administered in 35 Swiss hospitals. The European study resulted in evidence to support the validity and reliability of German, French, and Italian versions of the survey (Ausserhofer, Schubert, Blegen, De Geest, & Schwendimann, 2013).



Ausserhofer, D., Anderson. R., Colon-Emeric, C., & Schwendimann, R. (2013). First evidence on the validity and reliability of the safety organizing scale-nursing home version (SOS-NH).  JAMDA, 14, 616-622.

Ausserhofer, D., Schubert, M., Blegen, M., De Geest, S., & Schwendimann, R. (2013). Validity and reliability on three European language versions of the safety organizing scale. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 24(2), 157-166.

Vogus, T., & Sutcliffe, K. (2007). The safety organizing scale development and validation of a behavioral measure of safety culture in hospital nursing units. Medical Care, 45(1), 46-



Julie LaMothe RN CPNP IU School of Nursing NEPQR Grant program manager