Nurses to Their Nurse Leaders: We Need Your Help After a Failure to Rescue Patient Death

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe nurses' needs and how they are being met and not met after caring for surgical patients who died after a failure to rescue (FTR). A qualitative, phenomenologic approach was used for the interview and analysis framework. Methods to ensure rigor and trustworthiness were incorporated into the design. The investigator conducted semistructured 1:1 interviews with 14 nurses. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi's methods. Four themes were identified: (1) coping mechanisms are important; (2) immediate peer and supervisor feedback and support are needed for successful coping; (3) subsequent supervisor support is crucial to moving on; and (4) nurses desire both immediate support and subsequent follow-up from their nurse leaders after every FTR death. Nurses' needs after experiencing an FTR patient death across multiple practice areas and specialties were remarkably similar and clearly identified and articulated. Coping mechanisms vary and are not uniformly effective across different groups. Although most nurses in this study received support from their peers after the FTR event, many nurses did not receive the feedback and support that they needed from their nurse leaders. Immediate nurse leader support and follow-up debriefings should be mandatory after patient FTR deaths. Developing an understanding of nurses' needs after experiencing an FTR event can assist nurse leaders to better support nurses who experience FTR deaths. Insight into the environment surrounding FTR deaths also provides a foundation for future research aimed at improving patient safety and quality through an improved working environment for nurses.

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