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Role of registered nurses in error prevention, discovery and correction
  1. A E Rogers1,
  2. G E Dean2,
  3. W-T Hwang3,
  4. L D Scott4
  1. 1
    University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2
    State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA
  3. 3
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  4. 4
    Kirkhof College of Nursing, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
  1. Dr A E Rogers, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 420 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19104, USA; aerogers{at}


Background: Registered nurses have a vital role in discovering and correcting medical error.

Objective: To describe the type and frequency of errors detected by American critical care nurses, and to ascertain who made the errors discovered by study participants.

Methods: Daily logbooks were used to collect information about errors discovered by a random sample of 502 critical care nurses during a 28-day period.

Results: Although the majority of errors discovered and corrected by critical care nurses involved medications (163/367), procedural errors were common (n = 115). Charting and transcription errors were less frequently discovered. The errors discovered by participants were attributed to a wide variety of staff members including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, technicians and unit secretaries.

Conclusions: Given the importance of nurses in maintaining patient safety, future studies should identify factors that enhance their effectiveness to prevent, intercept and correct healthcare errors.

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  • Funding: This study was supported by grants from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (R01 HS11963-01), the American Nurses Foundation, and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

  • Competing interests: None.