Friday, January 26, 2007

Effects of stress and job control on errors

Ergonomics journal April 2006

'Work stress and patient safety: Observer-rated work stressors as predictors of characteristics of safety-related events reported by young nurses.' A Elfering, NK Semmer and S Grebner

Study used self-reporting and observation. Found the most frequent safety related stressful events included incomplete or incorrect documentation (40%), medication errors near misses (21%), delays in delivery of patient care (9.7%), violent patients (9.7%).

Familiarity of events and probability of occurrence was seemingly predicted by job stresses and low job control. These were shown to be risk factors for patient safety.

The results suggest that jobs should be redesigned to enhance job control and decrease stress. These interventions may be effective at improving patient safety.

Found that safety related events related to stresses, most notably onto concentration demands and lack of control. In other words people working under high demands and low control are more likely to have safety events. This is explained that secondary tasks such as second checking and documenting may not be tended to as well as they should. Also, stress can result in less competent social behaviour which may affect the behaviour of patients.

The relationship between work demands and patient safety need to be better understood so that nurses can be educated in self-management strategies for stressful situations.

Andy Brazier

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