ARTICLESRegistered Nurses' Judgments of the Classification and Risk Level of Patient Care ErrorsChipps, Esther PhD, RN; Wills, Celia E. PhD, RN; Tanda, Rika MS, RN; Patterson, Emily S. PhD; Elfrink, Victoria PhD, RN; Brodnik, Melanie PhD, RHIA; Schweikhart, Sharon PhD; Ryan-Wenger, Nancy PhD, RN, CPNP, FAANAuthor Information Ohio State University Health System (Dr Chipps); Ohio State University College of Nursing (Drs Wills and Elfrink and Ms Tanda); School of Allied Medical Professions, Division of Health Information Management and Systems, College of Medicine, Ohio State University (Drs Patterson and Brodnik); College of Public Health, Division of Health Services Management and Policy, Ohio State University (Dr Schweikhart); and Nationwide Children's Hospital (Dr Ryan-Wenger), Columbus, Ohio. Correspondence: Esther Chipps, PhD, RN, Ohio State University Health System, 410 W 10th, Ave, Columbus, OH 43210 ([email protected]). This study was funded by American Organization of Nurse Executives; Institute for Nursing Leadership Research and Education; Seed Grant, April 2009. The authors thank the Ohio Nurses Association and Dr Christopher Holloman, Ohio State University Statistical Consulting Service. The authors declare no conflict of interest. Accepted for publication: February 1, 2011. Journal of Nursing Care Quality: October/December 2011 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p 302-310 doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0b013e31820f4c57 Buy Metrics Abstract As frontline clinicians, nurses play a critical role in mitigating patient harm, recovery from health care errors, and overall improvement of patient safety. This cross-sectional study asked nurse respondents to make judgments about the classification and severity of errors in 4 clinical vignettes. Our results showed that agreement about error classification and associated risk among registered nurses is less than optimal. Further research is needed to advance our understanding of how nurses working in complex patient care situations can improve their ability to recognize subtle cues to facilitate early recognition of potential errors. © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.