Responses and concerns of healthcare providers to medication errors

Clin Nurse Spec. 2000 Nov;14(6):278-87; quiz 288-90. doi: 10.1097/00002800-200011000-00011.


This descriptive, correlational study examined the responses and concerns of healthcare professionals about making medication errors and estimated patient harm from such errors. A systematic random sample of nurses, pharmacists, and physicians (N = 402) completed a self-report survey about a medication error they judged to be serious. Respondents were guilty, nervous, and worried about the error. They feared for the safety of the patient, disciplinary action, and punishment. A few subjects indicated that they never reported the errors. The most frequent symptoms associated with errors were neurologically based. The injury suffered by patients was not severe overall according to the harm scales. Weak correlations were found for the harm scales and responses and concerns. The authors suggest a supportive environment for the provider following an error and continuous quality improvement efforts to eliminate system-based errors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Employee Discipline / methods
  • Employee Discipline / statistics & numerical data
  • Fear
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / adverse effects*
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Medication Errors / psychology*
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Management / methods
  • Risk Management / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires