Patient and staff safety: Voluntary reporting

Mary A. Blegen, Thomas Vaughn, Ginette Pepper, Carol Vojir, Karen Stratton, Michal Boyd, Gail Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Central to efforts to assure the quality of patient care in hospitals is having accurate data about quality and patient problems. The purpose was to describe the reporting rates of medication administration errors (MAE), patient falls, and occupational injuries. A questionnaire was distributed to staff nurses (N = 1105 respondents) in a national sample of 25 hospitals. This addressed voluntary reporting, work environment factors, and reasons for not reporting occurrences. More than 80% indicated that all MAEs should be reported, but only 36% indicated that near misses should be reported. Perceived levels of actual reporting were: 47% of MAEs, 77% of patient falls, 48% of needlesticks, 22% of other exposures to body fluids, and 17% of back injuries. Administrative response to reports, personal fears, and unit quality management were related to reporting. Patient and staff safety occurrences are underreported. Strong quality management processes and positive responses to reports of occurrences may increase reporting and enhance safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Back injury
  • Medication errors
  • Needlesticks
  • Nursing
  • Occupational injury
  • Occurrence reporting
  • Patient falls
  • Patient safety
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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