Table 2

 Descriptions of the levels of safety culture for one of the dimensions

Learning following an incidentDescription
PathologicalThis is not a learning organisation as no attempts are made to learn from incidents unless imposed by the pharmacy inspectors. The aim of the pharmacy after an incident is to “paper over the cracks” and protect itself. The pharmacy considers that it has been successful when the inspectors do not become aware of an incident. No changes are made after an incident apart from those directed at the individuals concerned.
ReactiveLittle if any learning occurs, and what does take place only relates to the amount of irritation that the manager/owner has experienced. All learning is specific to the particular incident. Any changes made after an incident are not maintained as they are knee jerk reactions to individual errors and are devised and imposed by the manager/owner. Consequently, similar incidents tend to recur.
CalculativeSome systems are in place to enable learning to take place but the lessons learnt are not communicated throughout the pharmacy. This learning results in some enforced local changes that relate directly to the specific incident. The manger/owner decides on the changes that need to be introduced and this lack of staff involvement leads to changes not being integrated into working patterns.
ProactiveThe pharmacy has a learning tradition and systems exist to share learning, such as reflection and audit. Members of staff are actively involved in deciding what changes are needed and there is a real commitment to change throughout the pharmacy. Hence, changes are maintained. The pharmacy looks for learning opportunities and is keen to learn from others’ experiences. The learning that follows incidents is used in forward planning. It is an open self-confident pharmacy.
GenerativeThe pharmacy learns and shares information about incidents with staff and other pharmacies. It is committed to sharing this learning both within the pharmacy and with other community pharmacies. Incidents are openly discussed where all staff feel able to contribute. Incidents are seen as a learning opportunity; they are inevitable but learning can occur to reduce their likelihood of occurrence. Learning within the pharmacy is evaluated. Improvements in practice occur without a trigger of an incident as the culture is one of constant improvement.