Creating an organizational culture for medication safety

Nurs Clin North Am. 2005 Mar;40(1):1-23. doi: 10.1016/j.cnur.2004.10.001.


Medication errors are costly from human, economic, and societal perspectives. All patients are vulnerable to the detrimental effects of these errors. Recommendations regarding the problem of medication errors include: Prevention of error by learning from the nonpunitive reporting of errors and near misses; Evaluation of the system for potential causes of error through failure mode and effects analysis and encouragement of a questioning attitude; Elimination of system problems that increase the risk of error; Recognition that humans are fallible and that error will occur even in a perfect system; Minimization of the consequences of errors when they do occur. An important goal for healthcare organizations should be to create a culture that accepts the imperfection of human performance and solicits the assistance of team members in the development of safeguards for error prevention. Proposed interventions to prevent medication errors can be described by the PATIENT SAFE taxonomy, which includes: Patient participation; Adherence to established policy and procedures; Technology use; Information accessibility; Education regarding medication safety; Nonpunitive approach to reporting of errors and near misses; Teamwork, communication, and collaboration; Staffing: adequate number and staffing mix; Administration support for the clinical goal of patient safety; Failure mode and effects analysis with team member involvement; Environment and equipment to support patient safety

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Communication
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cost of Illness
  • Drug Information Services / organization & administration
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Personnel / organization & administration
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / economics
  • Medical Errors / methods
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Models, Organizational
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, U.S., Health and Medicine Division
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Participation
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*
  • Systems Analysis
  • Total Quality Management
  • United States / epidemiology