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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2013, Article ID 671820, 6 pages
Research Article

Medication Errors in a Swiss Cardiovascular Surgery Department: A Cross-Sectional Study Based on a Novel Medication Error Report Method

1Institute of Nursing Science, University of Basel, Bernoullistraß 28, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
2Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital of Bern, Freiburgstraß 1, 3000 Bern, Switzerland
3Department of Health Promotion and Development, School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 350 Victoria Building, 3500 Victoria Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
4Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University Hospital of Bern, Freiburgstraß 1, 3000 Bern, Switzerland

Received 24 October 2012; Revised 30 December 2012; Accepted 13 January 2013

Academic Editor: Maria Helena Palucci Marziale

Copyright © 2013 Kaspar Küng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was (1) to determine frequency and type of medication errors (MEs), (2) to assess the number of MEs prevented by registered nurses, (3) to assess the consequences of ME for patients, and (4) to compare the number of MEs reported by a newly developed medication error self-reporting tool to the number reported by the traditional incident reporting system. We conducted a cross-sectional study on ME in the Cardiovascular Surgery Department of Bern University Hospital in Switzerland. Eligible registered nurses ( ) involving in the medication process were included. Data on ME were collected using an investigator-developed medication error self reporting tool (MESRT) that asked about the occurrence and characteristics of ME. Registered nurses were instructed to complete a MESRT at the end of each shift even if there was no ME. All MESRTs were completed anonymously. During the one-month study period, a total of 987 MESRTs were returned. Of the 987 completed MESRTs, 288 (29%) indicated that there had been an ME. Registered nurses reported preventing 49 (5%) MEs. Overall, eight (2.8%) MEs had patient consequences. The high response rate suggests that this new method may be a very effective approach to detect, report, and describe ME in hospitals.