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Study finds failure to include nurses in process of admitting errors to patients, families

 

For immediate release
Date:    January 7, 2009
Contact:   nscomm@uw.edu

Even though nurses routinely disclose nursing errors to their patients, a new study published in the January 2009 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety shows that nurses often are not included when physicians tell patients about more serious mistakes.

The study's authors conclude that because nurses play such a hands-on role at the bedside of their patients, the absence of nurses from both planning and actual disclosures can diminish the quality of the disclosure experienced by the patient or their family. For example, when nurses are not involved in the planning for disclosure, they may seem evasive in answering patients' questions or stall by encouraging families to write down their questions or set up a meeting with doctors. The study, "Disclosing Errors to Patients: Perspectives of Registered Nurses," systematically explores nurses' attitudes and experiences related to error disclosure.

"Improving the quality of error disclosure to patients is a top priority in health care," says Sarah E. Shannon, vice associate dean for academic services at the University of Washington School of Nursing, UW associate professor of behavioral nursing and health systems, and lead author of the study.

For the rest of this article: http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=46184

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