Supportive hospitals help nurses catch more mistakes

Nurses are more likely to catch medical errors in supportive hospitals, according to a recent study. The study, funded by the philanthropic Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that when nurses take steps to intervene in the medication process, they are more likely to catch would-be errors before they reach the patient.1 On average, a U.S. hospital patient is subjected to at least one medication error per day, leading to more than 7,000 inpatient deaths every year, the report says.

Researchers looked at 82 medical-surgical units at 14 acute care hospitals. Nurses used intervention tactics, such as comparing the medication administration record and patient record at the beginning of a shift, determining the rationale for each ordered medication, asking doctors to rewrite orders if they used improper abbreviations, and ensuring that patients and families understood the medication regimen.


1. Flynn L, Liang Y, Dickson GL, et al. Nurses' practice environments, error interception practices, and inpatient medication errors. J Nurs Scholarship 2012; 44:180-186.