Barriers to Medication Error Reporting from Nurses’ Perspective: A Private Hospital Survey

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Health Sciences Research Center, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Health Information Management Research Center, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran

3 Student Research Committee, Health and Management Department, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Research Center for Health Services Management, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

5 School of Management and Information Technology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Background and Objectives: Not reporting medication errors by the clinical staff prevent identification of type and frequency of these errors, and thereby developing effective strategies to alleviate the problem. Most investigation of barriers to medication error reporting comes from public hospitals. This study aimed to explore the issue from a nurse’s perspective in private hospital. Methods: A sample of 97 nurses from a 180-bed private hospital situated in Mashhad City (Western Iran) was surveyed. A literature-based questionnaire consisting of 16 questions asking the reasons for medication error underreporting from the nurse’s perspective was used as the survey tool. The content validity of the survey tool was explored by using nursing experts’ opinions. The reliability of the tool was examined using test-retest method. Data were summarized using descriptive statistical methods. The factors contributing to the medication error underreporting were ranked based on their importance scores, and clustered into three major ranking categories: very important, moderately important, and slightly important. T-test and ANOVA were used for comparison of the medical error factors between the demographic groups.  Findings: Fear of legal involvement, fear of losing job, and fear of the consequences of error were identified as the three major factors contributing to medication error under reporting. Age, work experience, working department, shift work and marital status were found to be significantly influential on reporting medication errors. Conclusions: According to our results, factors related to the potential consequences of reporting are the major concern of nurses in reporting. This observation that is corroborated by numerous previous findings emphasizes the importance of developing rational and blameless climate for honest reporting of un-intended medication errors and taking the advantages of these reports for improving patient safety.