Karina Santos

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



Managing the care of critically ill patients is a highly complex and stressful position requiring high levels of critical thinking skills and judgment. Medical errors, including medication errors continue to happen in hospitals across the nation. Despite decades of focus and efforts on this area from the Institute of Medicine and other national and federal agencies, literature suggests that medication errors in critical care are highly prevalent and underreported. The purpose of this project was to explore the knowledge base of critical care nurses in relation to medication error reporting. A survey was created, which included 10 questions that were relevant to medication errors and reporting of these in the critical care setting. No demographical data was collected on respondent nurses to protect anonymity and privacy. A total of 77 completed surveys were collected from ten critical care units at a large academic acute care hospital in Rhode Island. The results of the survey showed that the majority of nurses had no knowledge of the hospital’s policy or the official definition of a medication error as adopted by the facility. A significant number of nurses weren’t aware that near miss events are medication errors. This project found that critical care nurses and their patients would benefit from enhanced education programs aimed at closing these knowledge gaps. Providing clarification, guidelines and detailed policies and procedures may enhance their confidence, efficacy and skills to be able to adequately and consistently report all near miss events and actual medication errors thereby improving the overall culture of safety and patient outcomes.

Included in

Nursing Commons