Barriers and facilitators associated with the implementation of surgical safety checklists: A qualitative systematic review

Catherine Paterson, A. Mckie, M. Turner, V. Kaak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Aim: Despite the documented benefits of the World Health Organisation Patient Safety Checklist compliance rates with implementation continue to cause risk to patient safety. This qualitative systematic review aimed to explore the reported factors that impact compliance and implementation processes related to surgical safety checklists in perioperative settings. Design: A qualitative systematic review. Methods: A systematic review using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) approach to synthesize qualitative studies was conducted and reported according to PRISMA guidelines. Electronic databases were expansively searched using keywords and subject headings. Articles were assessed using a pre-selected eligibility criterion. Data extraction and quality appraisal was undertaken for all included studies and a meta-aggregation performed. Data Sources: The CINAHL, Medline and Scopus databases were searched in August 2022 and the search was repeated in June 2023. Results: 34 studies were included. Following the synthesis of the findings there were multiple interrelating barriers to checklist compliance that impacted implementation. There were more barriers than enablers reported in existing studies. Enablers included effective leadership, education and training, timely use of audit and feedback, local champions, and the option for local modifications to the surgical checklist. Further research should focus on targeted interventions that improve observed compliance rates to optimize patient safety. Conclusion: This qualitative systematic review identified multiple key factors that influenced the uptake of the Surgical Safety Checklist in operating theatres. Implications for the profession and/or patient care: Surgeon participation, hierarchical culture, complacency, and duplication of existing safety processes were identified which impacted the use and completion of the checklist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Sept 2023


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