Patient safety is a worldwide priority aimed at preventing medical errors before they cause death, harm, or injury. Medical errors impact 1 in 10 patients worldwide (WHO), and their implications may include death, permanent, or temporary harm, financial loss, and psychosocial harm to the patient and in some cases to the caregiver. The unique aspects and the complexity of the neonatal intensive (NICU) environment, in addition to the vulnerability of the neonatal population increase the risk for medical errors. The following article offers an overview of safety issues specific to neonatal intensive care and provides strategies and examples on how to ensure safe practice. In particular, the authors focus on strategies to improve the team process. Practice recommendations and research implications are presented.
College of Nursing, South Dakota State University, Brookings (Dr Samra and Ms Rollins); and School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Dr McGrath).
Corresponding Author: Haifa (Abou) Samra, College of Nursing, South Dakota State University, Box 2275, SNF 209, Brookings, SD 57007 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors have no conflict of interest.
Submitted for publication: November 1, 2010; Accepted for publication: January 31, 2011