Toward a Theory of Self-Reconciliation Following Mistakes in Nursing Practice
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2007
Journal of Nursing Scholarship
Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 177–183, June 2007
How to Cite
Crigger, N. J. and Meek, V. L. (2007), Toward a Theory of Self-Reconciliation Following Mistakes in Nursing Practice. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 39: 177–183. doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2007.00164.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAY 2007
- Article first published online: 23 MAY 2007
- Accepted for publication December 7, 2006.
- cognitive dissonance;
- medical errors;
- nursing errors
Purpose: To explore nurses' responses to making mistakes in hospital-based practice in the US.
Methods: A grounded theory approach was used to explore the process that occurs after nurses perceive that they have made mistakes in practice. Theoretical sampling was used and data were collected until saturation occurred. Ten participants, who were registered nurses, described 17 personal mistakes. The mistakes they described occurred in hospitals. All participants were practicing nursing either in hospitals or in other work settings.
Findings: A process of “Self-Reconciliation After Making Mistakes in Hospital Practice” was identified, with four distinct categories: reality hitting, weighing in, acting, and reconciling. The core category was reconciliation of the self, personally and professionally.
Conclusions: This research was a first step toward the development of a theory of mistake making in nursing practice. This response to making mistakes is consistent with previous research and is related to cognitive dissonance theory. The responses to mistakes varied from less healthy responses of blaming and silence to healthier responses that included disclosure, apologizing, and making amends. Further research to develop the theory and to determine helpful interventions is suggested.