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As the primary users of medical devices in direct patient care, registered nurses must be competent both with simple and complex devices because any device improperly used can have serious consequences Results of a cross-sectional survey of registered nurses (n= 238) working at a large South Australian tertiary care centre on units with high usage both of indwelling urethral (Foley) catheters and intravenous infusion pumps revealed that participants were significantly more likely to have learned to use the indwelling urethral (Foley) catheter in nursing school than they were to have learned how to use an intravenous infusion pump Participants differed significantly on most (13 of 17) items about what they learned, with nurses being more likely to learn various factors about the indwelling urethral catheter than the infusion pump Registered nurses were more likely to feel stressed when using an intravenous infusion pump than when using an indwelling urethral catheter, but were more likely to have used an indwelling urethral catheter that caused a patient harm than an intravenous infusion pump that caused a patient harm The most frequently identified reasons for incidents of patient harm resulting from use of an intravenous infusion pump were user error and inadequate device education The most frequently identified reasons for incidents of patient harm resulting from use of an indwelling urethral catheter were the patient's condition, particularly confusion, user error, equipment malfunction, and inadequate device education