When the Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System was published in 1999, health care providers, legislators, and the public were shocked by the numbers and types of preventable errors that regularly occur in the health care environment.

Over the past 11 years, this report has helped shift focus to patient safety and patient outcomes. It is the responsibility of every health care provider, including nurses, to continually work toward a safer health care delivery system. We know that nurses continue to rate highly in the yearly USA Today/Gallup Poll on Ethics and Honesty. Patients trust nurses to help ensure they are kept safe.

  • Know your patients. Make sure you are aware of medical history, medications, and daily goals.

  • Practice skilled communication with all providers. If your unit or hospital has a systematic way...

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