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Study examines nature and prevalence of errors in patient care

Cites complex and distracting work environment
PHILADELPHIA A University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing study provides the first detailed description of the nature and prevalence of errors by hospital staff nurses. During a 28-day period, 393 registered nurses kept a detailed journal of their errors and prevented errors, referred to as near-errors. Thirty percent of the nurses reported at least one error during the 28-day period, and 33 percent reported a near-error. Although the majority of errors and near-errors were medication-related, the nurses also reported a number of procedural, transcription and charting errors.
"Given the prevalence of other types of errors, an exclusive focus on medication administration errors, often a typical practice, may miss many important and potentially hazardous situations," said Ann E. Rogers, an associate professor in Penn's School of Nursing.

Eurekalert

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