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Nurses' Experience of Medical Errors: An Integrative Literature Review

Lewis, Erica J. PhD, RN; Baernholdt, Marianne PhD, MPH, RN; Hamric, Ann B. PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0b013e31827e05d1

Medical errors are a substantial problem in health care. Understanding the effect of medical errors on health care providers as the “second victims” is necessary to maintain safe, quality patient care for the good of both patients and providers. We report an integrative literature review of the effect of medical errors on nurses. A model derived from the findings illustrates the concept of nurses' experience of medical errors. Specific recommendations for improving that experience are offered.

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Department of Nursing, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia (Dr Lewis); School of Nursing and Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville (Dr Baernholdt); and School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Dr Hamric).

Correspondence: Erica J. Lewis, PhD, RN, Eastern Mennonite University, 1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Accepted for publication: November 14, 2012

Published online before print: December 7, 2012

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.