Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Safety checklists could cut 'human error' in clinical practice

  • Comment

Using safety checklists in routine clinical practice would help nurses improve care across a range of key areas, according to the nursing lead of a national patient safety campaign.

International Federation of Perioperative Nurses president Jane Reid said errors in healthcare were often to do with human factors and “non-technical” skills such as communication, situational awareness and leadership.

Ms Reid, who is the perioperative intervention lead for the Patient Safety First campaign, highlighted tools such as the World Health Organization’s safer surgery checklist as proven means of reducing human error (news, 17 February 2009, p1).

She said similar checklists had the potential to improve communication and team working across other areas of nursing practice, resulting in improvements in fundamental areas such as nutrition and pressure area care.

“In complex healthcare environments there is always the risk of assuming that ‘somebody else has done it’. The safer surgery checklist requires everybody to stop at a point in the patient pathway and ask a number of safety critical questions to ensure that critical elements [of care] have been carried out,” Ms Reid told Nursing Times.

She said: “It is about improving communication and the reliability of care that patients receive. For example, we know that if a patient is well nourished, well hydrated, on the right mattress and turned regularly they will not get a pressure sore, or their potential to get a pressure sore is significantly reduced.

“So if they develop a pressure sore that means that one of these things has not been reliably and consistently given to that patient.”

Ms Reid was speaking to Nursing Times ahead of next week’s launch of the “human factors” initiative, the second of four dedicated focus weeks designed by Patient Safety First to help trusts eliminate avoidable death and harm to patients (news, 12 January, p1).

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.