National study says nurses not speaking up when they see medical errors

The results of a study of 6,500 nurses and nurse managers, “The Silent Treatment” found that 58% of study respondents said that they fail to speak up when they see medical errors such as procedural shortcuts, incompetence and disrespect amongst their co-workers.

The study found that while checklists and other safety tools help identify problems which allows for the identification and avoidance of medical mistakes, that poor communication can kill, especially when the care is critical such as in the intensive care unit (ICU) and in the operating room.

bellevue medical malpractice lawyerThe study, which was done by the Americal Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN); AORN, the professional association for nurse education; and Vital Smarts collected data from 681 study participants in hospitals througout the United States.

The Silent Treatment shows how nurses’ failure to speak up when risks are known undermines the effectiveness of current safety tools. It then focuses on three specific concerns that often result in a decision to not speak up: dangerous shortcuts, incompetence, and disrespect.

Procedural shortcuts include things like ineffective hand washing, not changing gloves and failing to check armbands.

Concerns about incompetence include not speaking up when a colleague is not as skilled as he/she should be on procedures, protocols or medication.

Concerns about disrespect undercuts a professional’s ability to discuss concerns about errors with their fellow employees and undercuts the nurse or nurse manager’s professional opinion.

The study is concerning because the research shows that less than one in 10 nurses or nurse managers speak up to share their concerns
The Silent Treatment

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to medical malpractice and the family of those who have died with their wrongful death lawsuits.

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