Nurses have an obligation to disclose an error when one occurs. While errors should be avoided as much as possible, the reality is the health care delivery system is not and will never be perfect: errors and adverse events are an inevitable part of care.
In the study “Nurses’ Perceptions of Error Reporting and Disclosure in Nursing Homes,” published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Nursing Care Quality, the authors found the majority of registered nurse respondents reported error disclosure and responding to be a difficult process in their workplaces. The study has implications to improve nursing education, policy, and patient safety culture in the nursing home setting.
Multiple barriers exist that might inhibit disclosure; almost one-third of the respondents were less likely to disclose if they believed they might be sued or reprimanded. In addition, respondents believed that current efforts toward educating and supporting nurses with regard to errors were inadequate.
Adapted by Teresa L. Jepsen from original press release, New York University
Perhaps increased procedural support and potential legal protection of nursing staff would encourage transparent communications resulting in improved care and safety for patients.
Teresa L. Jepsen