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 self-administered 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.