Background: Little attention has been paid to how nursing students learn about quality and safety, and to the tools and policies that guide nursing schools in helping students respond to errors and near misses.
Purpose: This study sought to determine whether prelicensure nursing programs have a policy for reporting and following up on student clinical errors and near misses, a tool for such reporting, a tool or process (or both) for identifying trends, strategies for follow-up with students after errors and near misses, and strategies for follow-up with clinical agencies and individual faculty members.
Methods: A national electronic survey of 1,667 schools of nursing with a prelicensure registered nursing program was conducted. Data from 494 responding schools (30%) were analyzed.
Results: Of the responding schools, 245 (50%) reported having no policy for managing students following a clinical error or near miss, and 272 (55%) reported having no tool for reporting student errors or near misses.
Conclusions: Significant work is needed if the principles of a fair and just culture are to shape the response to nursing student errors and near misses. For nursing schools, some essential first steps are to understand the tools and policies a school has in place; the school's philosophy regarding errors and near misses; the resources needed to establish a fair and just culture; and how faculty can work together to create learning environments that eliminate or minimize the negative consequences of errors and near misses for patients, students, and faculty.