Skip to main content
To Report or Not to Report: A Descriptive Study Exploring ICU Nurses' Perceptions of Error and Error Reporting
Intensive & Critical Care Nursing (2010)
  • Sherry Espin, Ryerson University
  • Abigail Wickson-Griffiths, Ryerson University
  • Michelle Wilson
  • Lorelei Lingard, The University of Western Ontario

OBJECTIVE: To explore the emergent factors influencing nurses' error reporting preferences, scenarios were developed to probe reporting situations in the intensive care unit.

SETTING: Three Canadian intensive care unit settings including: one urban academic tertiary hospital, one community hospital and one academic paediatric hospital. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY/DESIGN: 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.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Three key points of analysis included: nurses' error perception, decision to report the scenario and style of reporting (formal and/or informal).

RESULTS: 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.

CONCLUSION: 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.

  • Academic Medical Centers,
  • Attitude of Health Personnel,
  • Canada,
  • Guideline Adherence,
  • Health Knowledge,
  • Practice,
  • Hospitals,
  • Community,
  • Pediatric Hospitals,
  • Hospitals,
  • Intensive Care Units,
  • Medical Errors,
  • Nurse's Role,
  • Nursing Methodology Research,
  • Nursing Staff,
  • Hospital,
  • Practice Guidelines,
  • Qualitative Research,
  • Questionnaires,
  • Risk Management
Publication Date
February, 2010
Citation Information
Sherry Espin, Abigail Wickson-Griffiths, Michelle Wilson and Lorelei Lingard. "To Report or Not to Report: A Descriptive Study Exploring ICU Nurses' Perceptions of Error and Error Reporting" Intensive & Critical Care Nursing Vol. 26 Iss. 1 (2010)
Available at: