The gap between nurses and residents in a community hospital's error-reporting system

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2005 Jan;31(1):13-20. doi: 10.1016/s1553-7250(05)31003-8.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Hospital Information Systems*
  • Hospitals, Community*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Medical Errors*
  • Medication Errors
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*