To explore the emergent factors influencing nurses' error reporting preferences, scenarios were developed to probe reporting situations in the intensive care unit.
Three Canadian intensive care unit settings including: one urban academic tertiary hospital, one community hospital and one academic paediatric hospital.
Using qualitative descriptive methodology, semi-structured interviews were guided by a script which included a series of both closed and open-ended questions. One near miss and four error scenarios were used as prompts during the interview. Four of the five scenarios were identical across all the three sites; however, one scenario differed in the community site to reflect the distinct practice environment.
Three key points of analysis included: nurses' error perception, decision to report the scenario and style of reporting (formal and/or informal).
At least 81% of the 37 participants stated that they would report the events in the respective scenarios. Deviations from standards of practice emerged as the primary rationale for participants' perception of error.
Nurses working in the intensive care unit readily perceive and are willing to report errors or near misses; however they may choose informal or formal methods to report.