Causes and management of nursing practice errors: a questionnaire survey of hospital nurses in Iran

Int Nurs Rev. 2008 Sep;55(3):288-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-7657.2008.00623.x.


Background: Some human error in health care is inevitable. Research into the predisposing factors for these errors is an important step in their management.

Aim: To survey nurse perceptions of the contributing factors to nursing practice errors.

Methods: A descriptive survey was carried out in three selected educational hospitals in Tehran city. Data were collected by questionnaire and analysed using descriptive statistics. The study sample consisted of 96 nurses and nursing managers. A multistage sampling strategy was used.

Results: Results showed that from nurses' and nursing managers' perspectives, various factors could contribute to the occurrence of nursing errors in the 'management', 'environment' and 'nursing care' sections. In addition, there were differences between nurses working on various wards about the causes of nursing errors in each section.

Conclusion: A culture of safety recognizes that safety is 'no accident'. Rather, it requires a change in management practices, providing a suitable environment with the requisite supply of resources and infrastructure, and increasing nurses' knowledge. Outcomes that are identified from the process of practice error management should promote interventions designed to prevent future practice errors based on the above contributing factors.

Limitations: The study relied on self-report by a sample of nurses. These responses should now be tested by empirical research into actual nursing practice errors in order to test whether the nurses' perceived ideas of causation are substantiated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Medical Errors* / prevention & control
  • Medical Errors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sampling Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires