Depressed nurses more likely to make medical errors

Washington: Nurses with poor health, particularly those under depression, are more likely to commit medical errors, warns a recent study.

The findings suggest that such nurses have a 26 to 71 percent higher likelihood of reporting medical errors as compared to their healthier peers.

According to researchers, depression is common among nurses and is linked to a higher likelihood that they would make medical misrtakes.

Researchers from Ohio State University in United States compared the wellness data to the medical error data and found a significant link between poor health and medical errors.

Lead author Bernadette Melnyk said that when you are not in optimal health, you are not going to be on top of your game.

“Hospital administrators should build a culture of well-being and implement strategies to better support good physical and mental health in their employees. It’s good for nurses and it’s good for their patients,” Melnyk added.

The research is the first large-scale national study to link nurses’ well-being to self-reported medical errors.

“Nurses do a great job of caring for other people, but they often don’t prioritise their own self-care,” she said.

The survey included 53 questions and was offered through nursing organisations and 20 US hospitals.

The majority of participants were white women and the average age of participants was 44, which closely resembles the demographics of the nursing workforce nationwide.

Depression stood out as a major concern among the 1,790 nurses, who responded to the survey.

The results suggested that more than half (54 percent) of the nurses reported poor physical and mental health.

About a third said they had some degree of depression, anxiety or stress.

Less than half said they had a good professional quality of life.

About half the nurses reported medical errors in the past five years.

The research appears online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. (ANI)