This qualitative study was successful in utilization of grounded theory methodology to ascertain nurses' decision-making processes following their awareness of having made a medical error, as well as how and/or if they corrected and reported the error. Significant literature documents the existence of medical errors; however, this unique study interviewed thirty nurses from adult intensive care units seeking to discover through a detailed interview process their individual stories and experiences, which were then analyzed for common themes. Common themes led to the development of a theoretical model of thought processes regarding error reporting when nurses made an error. Within this theoretical model are multiple processes that outline a shared, time-orientated sequence of events nurses encounter before, during, and after an error. One common theme was the error occurred during a busy day when they had been doing something unfamiliar. Each nurse expressed personal anguish at the realization she had made an error, she sought to understand why the error happened and what corrective action was needed. Whether the error was reported on or told about depended on each unit's expectation and what needed to be done to protect the patient. If there was no perceived patient harm, errors were not reported. Even for reported errors, no one followed-up with the nurses in this study. Nurses were left on their own to reflect on what had happened and to consider what could be done to prevent error recurrence. The overall impact of the process of and the recovery from the error led to learning from the error that persisted throughout her nursing career. Findings from this study illuminate the unique viewpoint of licensed nurses' experiences with errors and have the potential to influence how the prevention of, notification about and resolution of errors are dealt with in the clinical setting. Further research is needed to answer multiple questions that will contribute to nursing knowledge about error reporting activities and the means to continue to improve error-reporting rates.
|Advisor:||Ebright, Patricia R.|
|Commitee:||Draucker, Claire B., Ironside, Pamela M., Sloan, Rebecca S.|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Nursing, Health education|
|Keywords:||Decisions, Error, Nursing, Reporting|
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