Iranian nurses’ experience of “being a wrongdoer”: A phenomenological study

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Background:Patient safety, which is a patient’s right, can be threatened by nursing errors. Furthermore, nurses’ feeling of “being a wrongdoer” in response to nursing errors can influence the quality of care they deliver.Research objectives:To explore the meaning of Iranian nurses’ experience of “being a wrongdoer.”Research design:A phenomenological approach was used to explore nurses’ lived experiences. Nurses were recruited purposively to take part in semistructured interviews, and the data collected from these interviews were analyzed using Van Manen’s thematic analysis.Participants and research context:Eight nurses working in three private or governmental hospitals in Tehran, Iran.Ethical consideration:The research design was approved in each participating hospital, and all interviews were carried out at a predetermined time in a private place.Findings:Five themes were extracted from the data: “wandering in unpleasant feelings” (with two subthemes: “unpleasant physical feelings” and “unpleasant emotions”), “wandering in the conscience court” (with three subthemes: “being the accused,” “being the victim,” and “being the judge”), “being arrested in time,” “time for change” (with three subthemes: “promoting accountability,” “promoting learning,” and “strengthening supportive relationships”), and “spiritual exercise.”Discussion:Some of our results are supported by the model of self-reconciliation and the recovery trajectory of “second victims” theory.Conclusion:The meaning of “being a wrongdoer” has positive and negative aspects. Feelings of wandering provide nurses the opportunity to reflect on and re-embrace the professional and moral responsibility of nursing. Nursing managers can convert their “defeats” into a prelude to learning, increase their accountability, and improve the quality of nursing care.

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