Educational DIMENSIONTurning the Tide on Medical Errors in Intensive Care Units A Human Factors ApproachRogerson, William T. Jr MA; Tremethick, Mary Jane PhD, RN Author Information ABOUT THE AUTHORS William T. Rogerson, Jr, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Mr. Rogerson is a retired US Navy nuclear submarine commander with more than 25 years experience in high-tech, high-risk environments that require human error minimization and apply human factors engineering principles. He is currently a technical support manager at a nuclear weapons complex facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Mary Jane Tremethick, PhD, RN, is an Assistant Professor at Northern Michigan University. She currently teaches in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. She is experienced in several nursing areas including intensive care nursing. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: William T. Rogerson, Jr, 12806 Big Horn Ln, Knoxville, TN 37922 Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: July/August 2004 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 169-175 Buy AbstractIn Brief Errors occur in all nursing settings. The current healthcare climate tends to focus on individuals as the cause of errors rather than addressing issues that may be inherently wrong with the healthcare system that predisposes the individual to make errors. Human factors engineering (HFE), which is focused on removing human factors as much as possible from errors, has the potential to greatly impact medical errors in intensive care units. Applied in other high-risk industries, HFE has been critical in understanding and preventing errors at a systems level. Knowledge concerning the role systems play in errors and improvements to medical systems using HFE is intended to empower nurses to be advocates for systems change, resulting in a safer work environment and a safer healthcare delivery system. This provocative article concerns the role systems play in medication errors. The authors provide suggestions for improvements to the medical system. © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.