Every three out of five nurses that witnessed a situation where patient safety was put at risk kept silent about the potential medical mistake, according to a study of more than 6,500 nurses that shows a startling gap in communication across the nation’s hospitals.
The vast majority – 85 percent – of nurses or nurse managers who took part in the survey reported that they have witnessed a breached safety measure alerting them to potential danger for the patient, and four out of five consigned the breach to one of three categories: shortcuts, incompetence and disrespect.
While more than half of the study participants reported seeing a dangerous shortcut, just 17 percent brought the issue to the attention of colleagues. Aptly titled, "The Silent Treatment,” the report, from The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, focuses on how communication barriers lead to medical errors.
"The report confirms that tools don't create safety; people do. Safety tools will never compensate for communication failures in the hospital," said David Maxfield, lead researcher of the study, in a news release.