Photo of podcast style microphone.

Nursing faculty promotes patient safety through podcast

A "near miss" is the term used to describe medication errors that are caught before being administered to a patient. Even with the implementation of safety technologies and best practices, these dangerous errors do occur. The actual incidence rate is likely higher than the reported rate due to a lack of reporting.

Professor Susan Dennison, Dr. Michelle Freeman, Dr. Natalie Giannotti and Professor Padma Ravi of the University of Windsor's Faculty of Nursing recently published an article in the Nurse Educator Journal. They were then invited to take part in a podcast hosted by journal editor-in-chief, Dr. Marilyn Oermann, to relay the critical importance of reporting and analyzing these near misses.

"Underreporting is common in nursing and in nursing programs," explains Professor Dennison. "This is related to a lack of time to complete reports, confusion about what to report and fear that the error or near miss will be held against them."

"There are usually many near misses before a medication error occurs," states Dr. Freeman. "They are sometimes called free lessons because they inform us about vulnerabilities that almost resulted in an error."

Nurses are responsible for administering most of the medications in healthcare and contribute to the underreporting problem, which in turn, prevents an understanding of vulnerabilities and error traps in the medication delivery system.

"This is a major barrier to understanding the individual and system factors that contribute to errors and can place patients in our care at risk," offers Professor Ravi. "We want to prepare our nursing students with a commitment to report these incidents and to continue to learn from them. Developing competencies in reporting medication errors and near miss incidents is a critical component of nursing student education."

While their study highlights near misses, it also notes the effectiveness of standard operating procedures to safeguard patient safety.

"A really positive finding is that our backup systems such as independent double checks, worked to catch the errors," says Dr. Giannotti. "Students, clinical instructors and patients all played a role in stopping the error from reaching the patient.

The Nurse Educator Podcast can be downloaded on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts. Visit this page to read the full article published in the Nurse Educator Journal.