Nurse practitioner malpractice data: Informing nursing education

J Prof Nurs. 2017 Jul-Aug;33(4):271-275. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Jan 5.


Background: Nurse practitioners (NPs) are often identified in medical malpractice claims. However, the use of malpractice data to inform the development of nursing curriculum is limited. The purpose of this study is to examine medical errors committed by NPs.

Methods: Using National Practitioner Data Bank public use data, years 1990 to 2014, NP malpractice claims were classified by event type, patient outcome, setting, and number of practitioners involved.

Results: The greatest proportion of malpractice claims involving nurse practitioners were diagnosis related (41.46%) and treatment related (30.79%). Severe patient outcomes most often occurred in the outpatient setting. Nurse practitioners were independently responsible for the event in the majority of the analyzed claims.

Conclusion: Moving forward, nurse practitioner malpractice data should be continuously analyzed and used to inform the development of nurse practitioner education standards and graduate program curriculum to address areas of clinical weakness and improve quality of care and patient safety.

Keywords: Education; Malpractice; Nurse practitioner.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Diagnostic Errors / economics
  • Diagnostic Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnostic Errors / trends
  • Education, Nursing, Graduate / standards*
  • Humans
  • Malpractice / economics*
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Malpractice / trends
  • Medical Errors / economics
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • National Practitioner Data Bank / statistics & numerical data
  • Nurse Practitioners / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Nurse Practitioners / standards
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States