Nurses often left out of error disclosure process, report finds

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Nurses frequently do not play a role in telling patients about serious medical errors, according to a recently released Joint Commission report. 

Hospital nurses surveyed for the report indicated that, while they are reluctant to independently disclose serious medical errors to patients, they would like a larger role in the disclosure process. Due to a nurse's important role in the overall care of a patient, study authors suggest the nurse's absence from the error disclosure process could lessen the quality of the disclosure experience for the patient. According to the report, nurses who are uninformed about a serious medical error may seem evasive or appear to stall when asked a question by a patient or family member.

Study authors indicate that not being involved in this aspect of care could lead to increased job dissatisfaction, job turnover rates and moral distress. Additional training in the area of error disclosure could help improve quality of care and nurse job satisfaction, the authors suggest.

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