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The Gap Between Nurses and Residents in a Community Hospital's Error-Reporting System

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Background: Little is known about current attitudes and practices among residents and nurses regarding error reporting. A survey was conducted to suggest differing needs for training and other interventions to enhance reporting.

Methods: The authors surveyed 24 residents and 60 nursing staff in all inpatient care units at a community hospital from 2001 to 2002. The authors used selfadministered questionnaires to assess respondents' knowledge and use of the hospital's error-reporting system, perceptions and attitudes toward error reporting, reported behaviors in hypothetical error scenarios, and conditions that influence error reporting.

Results: Only half of the residents (54%) knew about the hospital's error-reporting system, whereas nearly all nurses did (97%; p = .001). Only 13% of the residents (versus 72% of the nurses) had ever used the reporting system (p = .001). Residents (29%) were less likely than nurses (64%) to report being comfortable discussing mistakes with supervisors (p = .006), and residents (38%) were more likely than nurses (0%) to rate the hospital atmosphere as nonsupportive of error reporting (p =.001).

Discussion: Error-reporting systems may give a biased picture of the true pattern of medical errors, and hospitals may need to initiate other interventions to improve residents' error reporting.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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