Would you report an error?
I’m asking a hypothetical question here. I’m not disputing, arguing, defending or defaming any particular facility or individual. I’m simply curious as to what is the nursing community’s consensus on reporting medical errors? Are you really free of fear?
I’m referring to any type of error. Is there really such thing as a ‘small’ error when it refers to patient safety? Who are we to decide when an error or mistake is allowable.
It’s quite the clash isn’t it? Here you are as a professional doing your best to ‘do no harm’. It’s our job to advocate for the patient, for all patients. We are given the responsibility to ‘speak’ for the patient, especially when the patient cannot speak for themselves. It’s the ultimate burden for those that don’t practice this skill.
On the other side of the coin is self-preservation. We love our job (most of us). We love practicing as a nurse. We love making the difference. We of course *AHEM*.. love to be employed too. We do enjoy paying our bills and having a steady income, especially in this tough economy!
So what if you had to choose? Patient advocacy or your job? Now, remember this is purely hypothetical. Because we have all been taught, trained and tirelessly educated on the ‘no report retaliation’ concept. It’s our job to report the errors- and we won’t lose out jobs for reporting.
I may be embellishing a little here, I admit it. But what if?
While we’re being honest here, lets not forget that there are other health care professionals out there that have lost their jobs for doing this very thing (see the link articles referenced below).
This fear of retaliation is very real. And whether we or any other health care professional will openly or publicly admit to it, this fear motivates our decision making skills, hypothetical or not.
Articles of interest:
Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing.
After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital.
He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
By Sean Dent