Frequency and type of errors and near errors reported by critical care nurses

Can J Nurs Res. 2006 Jun;38(2):24-41.


Research suggests that critically ill patients may be at high risk for medical errors. The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine the type and frequency of errors and near errors reported by a randomly selected sample of 502 critical care nurses. Data on errors and near errors were recorded in logbooks daily for 28 days. Over one quarter of the participants reported making an error and more than one third reported catching themselves making an error. There were 224 errors and 350 near errors reported during the study period. The most frequent type of error (56.7%) involved medication administration. Procedural errors and near errors, as well as transcription and charting errors, were also reported. These findings have significant implications for patient safety among a seriously ill population that has little natural resilience or ability to protect itself from health-care mishaps.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Critical Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Documentation
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / nursing
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medication Errors / nursing
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Records
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital* / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital* / psychology
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration
  • Safety Management
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States