Tip of the month
When error occurs: Create a culture free of blame
How do you handle a staff member who has made a medical error? Does your intervention vary depending on whether the error led to a critical outcome?Now, imagine knowing your action or lack of action was responsible for a patient’s demise.
The culture surrounding the nursing profession leads us to believe we are to practice as clinical perfectionists. However, although we strive to deliver safe patient care free of error, it may be unrealistic to hold such an opinion of ourselves. Instead, we should learn from medical staff colleagues who are making strides with disclosures and apologies.
The book Why Hospitals Should Fly: The Ultimate Flight Plan to Patient Safety and Quality Care can assist you in your decision-making when errors occur and also in your ability to effectively lead staff members through processes following an error.
Consider stimulating a discussion with staff members at a meeting by asking them the following questions:
- Do you think nurses should lose their license if a patient dies as a result of their error?
- How do you think our organization should manage nurses who make an error?
- What can we do to encourage nurses to be comfortable acknowledging errors?
Nance, John (2008). Why Hospitals Should Fly: The Ultimate Flight Plan to Patient Safety and Quality Care. Bozeman: Second River Healthcare Press.
Sorry Works! Coalition. Accessed March 9. Available at www.sorryworks.net.
Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN, Health Resources Unlimited, www.hru.net. Adapted with permission.