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Keywords:

  • Medical error;
  • error reporting;
  • safety culture;
  • nurses;
  • patient safety

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the association between patient safety culture (PSC) and the incidence and reporting rate of medical errors by Israeli nurses.

Design

Self-administered structured questionnaires were distributed to a convenience sample of 247 registered nurses enrolled in training programs at Tel Aviv University (response rate = 91%).

Methods

The questionnaire's three sections examined the incidence of medication mistakes in clinical practice, the reporting rate for these errors, and the participants’ views and perceptions of the safety culture in their workplace at three levels (organizational, departmental, and individual performance). Pearson correlation coefficients, t tests, and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the data.

Findings

Most nurses encountered medical errors from a daily to a weekly basis. Six percent of the sample never reported their own errors, while half reported their own errors “rarely or sometimes.” The level of PSC was positively and significantly correlated with the error reporting rate. PSC, place of birth, error incidence, and not having an academic nursing degree were significant predictors of error reporting, together explaining 28% of variance.

Conclusions

This study confirms the influence of an organizational safety climate on readiness to report errors. Senior healthcare executives and managers can make a major impact on safety culture development by creating and promoting a vision and strategy for quality and safety and fostering their employees’ motivation to implement improvement programs at the departmental and individual level.

Clinical Relevance

A positive, carefully designed organizational safety culture can encourage error reporting by staff and so improve patient safety.