More Patient Surveillance Needed to Reduce Nurse Errors

Study finds errors in verification and physician interaction common
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- It is common for nurses to commit errors in the course of their work, and nurse educators are urged to improve training in strategies to improve patient surveillance, according to a study in the February issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Elizabeth A. Henneman, R.N., of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and colleagues conducted a study of 50 senior nursing students who participated in a human patient simulation exercise. Errors in four domains -- coordination, verification, monitoring and intervention -- were measured.

All participants committed at least one error, with verification errors the most common, the researchers found. Errors also occurred in interactions with physicians, while the nurses committed the fewest errors in their coordination of information with the patient and the family, the investigators note.

"Our finding that 100 percent of nursing student subjects committed errors in identifying rule-based errors should be cause for concern about patient safety. Educators must identify effective strategies that students can use to decrease the number of rule-based errors while recognizing the critical role that systems play in impacting error," the authors write. "Future research is needed to provide insight into sources of error, error prevention and recovery strategies, and optimal methods of student nurse evaluation."

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