The purpose of this study was (1) to determine frequency and type of medication errors (MEs), (2) to assess the number of MEs prevented by registered nurses, (3) to assess the consequences of ME for patients, and (4) to compare the number of MEs reported by a newly developed medication error self-reporting tool to the number reported by the traditional incident reporting system. We conducted a cross-sectional study on ME in the Cardiovascular Surgery Department of Bern University Hospital in Switzerland. Eligible registered nurses (n = 119) involving in the medication process were included. Data on ME were collected using an investigator-developed medication error self reporting tool (MESRT) that asked about the occurrence and characteristics of ME. Registered nurses were instructed to complete a MESRT at the end of each shift even if there was no ME. All MESRTs were completed anonymously. During the one-month study period, a total of 987 MESRTs were returned. Of the 987 completed MESRTs, 288 (29%) indicated that there had been an ME. Registered nurses reported preventing 49 (5%) MEs. Overall, eight (2.8%) MEs had patient consequences. The high response rate suggests that this new method may be a very effective approach to detect, report, and describe ME in hospitals.