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  1. Seaman, Jennifer B.
  2. Erlen, Judith A.


Nursing workarounds have garnered increased attention over the past 15 years, corresponding with an increased focus on patient safety and evidence-based practice and a rise in the use of health information technologies (HITs). Workarounds have typically been viewed as deviations from best practice that put patients at risk for poor outcomes. However, this narrow view fails to take into consideration the multifactorial origins of workarounds. The authors explore the ways in which evidence-based protocols and HIT, designed to improve patient safety and quality, can have an unintended consequence of increasing the likelihood of nurses engaging in workarounds. The article also examines workarounds considering the ethical obligations of both nurses and administrative leaders to optimize patient safety and quality.