Nurses' experiences with errors in nursing

Amy R. Koehn, Patricia R. Ebright, Claire Burke Draucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background Health care organizations seek to maximize the reporting of medical errors to improve patient safety. Purpose This study explored licensed nurses' decision-making with regard to reporting medical errors. Methods Grounded theory methods guided the study. Thirty nurses from adult intensive care units were interviewed, and qualitative analysis was used to develop a theoretical framework based on their narratives. Discussion The theoretical model was titled “Learning Lessons from the Error.” The concept of learning lessons was central to the theoretical model. The model included five stages: Being Off-Kilter, Living the Error, Reporting or Telling About the Error, Living the Aftermath, and Lurking in Your Mind. Conclusion This study illuminates the unique experiences of licensed nurses who have made medical errors. The findings can inform initiatives to improve error reporting and to support nurses who have made errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-574
Number of pages9
JournalNursing outlook
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Error
  • Error reporting
  • Errors
  • Grounded theory
  • Nurse
  • Nursing
  • Patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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