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Nurses Often Deeply Affected by Workplace Errors

Study finds that clear definitions of what constitutes an error may encourage reporting

THURSDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses are deeply affected by errors they make in the intraoperative environment and need more guidance on what constitutes an error in order to encourage more open reporting, according to a study in the Jan. 10 issue of the AORN Journal.

Robin Chard, R.N., of the Center for Nursing Practice in Denver, conducted a study of 272 perioperative nurses using a questionnaire to elicit information about how they perceive, define and cope with intraoperative nursing errors.

The researchers found that errors were reported by 58 percent of respondents. Overall, the cohort had similar views on what could be described as an intraoperative nursing error, but there was less consensus on what could be termed a close call. Intraoperative nursing errors were attributed to multiple factors, such as miscommunication, being distracted and having too many tasks in hand, while nurses who were able to seek social support and engage in logical problem solving were the most likely to report constructive changes in practice.

"The errors were not easily forgotten, and many of the perioperative nurses harbored feelings of guilt, anger with themselves, and fear associated with causing harm to their patients," the author writes. "The lingering emotions felt by health care professionals should be recognized and given proper attention by those who are responsible for identifying the reasons behind the error."

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