Factors causing or influencing nursing errors as perceived by nurses: findings of a cross-sectional study in German nursing homes and hospitals
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Nurses constitute an important group in identifying and preventing errors and risks in health care, but research on their perception of errors is scarce. This paper presents results of a representative study on health care errors, focusing on factors causing and influencing the occurrence of errors as perceived by nurses.
Subject and methods
The cross-sectional research design comprised descriptive and correlational parts. The sample consisted of 1,100 nurses employed at 30 hospitals and 46 nursing homes in Germany. Data were collected in 2008/2009 using a questionnaire listing 21 factors that can potentially cause or influence errors. Participants could choose up to three factors they deem the most important. Differences between the two settings and variables which might have an influence on the perception of error-causing factors were analyzed using cluster-adjusted methods.
High workload, staff shortage and excessive labour topped the list. Hospital nurses more often chose “workload” and “interruptions” while nursing home nurses more often ranked “lack of knowledge” and “lack of motivation” as the most important. There are some significant variables such as years of professional experience and migration background that could affect nurses’ perception.
The findings support other studies, pointing to workload issues and below-optimum work processes producing errors. Inter-sectoral differences suggest the necessity of sector-specific support in education and on-going training as well as risk and quality management.
KeywordsHospital Nursing Nursing error Nursing home Patient safety Resident safety
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Grant Number 01GT0607.
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