Medication errors put all health careprofessionals under a microscope. Theintense scrutiny has many licensedhealth care providers fearing disciplinaryrepercussions from their licensingboards as a result of an error, accordingto an Institute for Safe Medication Practicessurvey. Despite widespread recognitionthat blame and punishment formistakes are counterproductive topatient safety, the 1572 respondentswere concerned about the magnitudeof the reactions. The respondents,polled in early 2005, included pharmacists,physicians, registered nurses(RNs), and licensed practical nurses.
Participants expected an increasingseverity of punishment by the licensingboards as patient outcomes deteriorate.Of the respondents, 93% believedthat their licenses would be restrictedin some form if they were involved ina fatal medication error. If the patientwas harmed but did not die, 22% of therespondents believed that license probationwould occur. The respondentsalso thought that there would be amonetary fine included for errors.When polled about remedial education,50% of all the participantsbelieved that it would be mandatory inthe aftermath of either a harmful orfatal medication error.
When asked about the value ofnewsletters published by their licensingboards, 16% of the respondentsfound the publications important topatient safety and quality; 33% foundthem somewhat helpful; and 52%were not sure or did not find the publicationshelpful at all. Overall, pharmacistsfound the publications morehelpful than did RNs.