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Nurses' Error Management in Critical Care Units: A Qualitative Study

Nasrabadi, Alireza Nikbakht PhD; Peyrovi, Hamid PhD; Valiee, Sina PhD

Critical Care Nursing Quarterly: April/June 2017 - Volume 40 - Issue 2 - p 89–98
doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000145
Original Articles

Nursing errors are common in critical care units, and nurses are in the first line of confrontation. The purpose of this study was to explore the processes of managing nursing errors in critical care units in Iran and to develop a theoretical explanation of the phenomenon. This was a grounded theory study. We recruited a sample of 18 critical care nurses for the study. The sampling method was purposive and then changed to theoretical. The data were collected through in-depth interviews. For data analysis, we employed the constant comparative analysis technique. The core category of the study was “continuous situational analysis.” The main categories were situational analysis and error removal. When nurses confronted an error, they opted for analyzing the error situation in terms of the nature of error, probable consequences, monitoring, and life threat. Accordingly, they employed error removal strategies such as self-action, cooperation, notifying, and censoring. These steps happened concurrently, successively, or cyclically. To manage their committed errors, nurses usually go through an informal process. Nurse-managers need to design effective error management strategies and require the practicing nurses to adhere to them. A practical model for effective prevention and management of nursing errors in critical care units is necessary.

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (Dr Nasrabadi); Nursing Care Research Center, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (Dr Peyrovi); and Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran (Dr Valiee).

Correspondence: Sina Valiee, PhD, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Pasdaran St, 66177-13446, Sanandaj, Iran (Valiee@muk.ac.ir).

This study was supported by the research fund of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. The present study was part of the Dr Valiee's PhD dissertation. The authors appreciate all the critical care nurses of the study for their participation and wish them good health.

None of the authors have any conflict of interest.

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