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Study Finds Failure to Include Nurses in Process of Admitting Errors to Patients, Families
Date:1/7/2009

ey hesitate to independently disclose errors that involved serious harm or actions of other members of the health care team. In these situations, the nurses said the responsibility fell to the patient's attending physician. The nurses said, however, that they would like a role in the disclosure process as a way to both communicate directly with the patient about nursing's role in the event and to avoid being blamed for the event. The study also found low awareness of institutional disclosure policies.

The study's authors -- three nurses and one physician -- conclude that a team disclosure process is best and recommend that health care organizations establish policies that permit nurses and other caregivers to participate in and raise concerns about the disclosure process. The authors point out that a lack of collaboration and communication in the disclosure process may lead to moral distress, increased job dissatisfaction and job turnover among nurses. In addition, the authors suggest that nurse managers should receive training on how to tell patients and families that a mistake has occurred.

This study was supported by the Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, published monthly by Joint Commission Resources (JCR), features peer-reviewed research and case studies on improving quality and safety in health care organizations. Click here http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jcaho/jcjqs/2009/00000035/00000001/art00002;jsessionid=1c3t4pj54vose.alice) to order this article in the January 2009 issue. To subscribe to The Joi
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