Patient Safety/Adverse Events

Understanding the effects of an unanticipated adverse or near miss patient event has implications for the well-being of healthcare professionals, the retention of staff, and the sustainability of a healthy practice environment. Several researchers have concluded that the occurrences of adverse events in complex healthcare environments are inevitable (Waterman et. al, 2007; Baker et al., 2004; Sears, Baker, Barnsley, & Short, 2013). The cost to the healthcare system related to healthcare professionals’ reactions to adverse events is unknown. However, on average, healthcare professionals lose twice as many days to illness and disability than do those in the general working population (Statistics Canada, 2013). Nurses lose more time to illness and disability than workers do in any other profession (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2001). Determining the reason(s) for these high rates of lost time is complicated. It has been suggested that one of the potential causes for the increased rate of illness and disability is related to psychological reactions to the stress and demands of the workplace. Research supports the notion that healthcare professionals are affected by their experiences with adverse events. However, there is disagreement on how they are affected. Researchers have also identified that healthcare professionals should be supported after they are involved in an adverse event, but there is disagreement on the most appropriate means of support. Information on how best to support students is very limited. This is compounded by a lack of data about the adverse events and clinical errors students usually experience. It has been estimated that only 3.6% of errors that occur in a healthcare setting are reported by healthcare professionals (Christiaans-Dingelhoff, et al., 2011) there has been no estimation of the number of students involved or exposed to an error.  Due to the high rate of errors that occur within healthcare, it is assumed that all health professionals will be involved, either directly or indirectly, with an error or adverse event; therefore, curricula has been developed to teach students about errors and potential means of avoiding an error. However, as educators we do not know understand the experience of our students. Therefore, through the secondary use of an assignment students complete in their nursing leadership course information will be gathered about the types of events, errors, or near misses, and  their reactions and experiences after they were involved in an adverse event. This information can then be used to design curricula and deliver better supports for students who experience an adverse event.

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