Attitudes to reporting medication error among differing healthcare professionals

Ajit Sarvadikar, Gordon Prescott, David Williams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Medication error reporting is an important measure to prevent medication error incidents in a healthcare system and can serve as an important tool for improving patient safety. This study aimed to investigate attitudes of healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) in reporting medication errors.

Fifty-six healthcare professionals working at a 900-bed tertiary referral hospital were surveyed. A questionnaire using two different clinical scenarios (involving oral and intravenous administration of a drug) and four questions with an ascending order of worsening patient outcome was used. A Likert scale ranging from 1 (unlikely) to 5 (likely) was used to describe the likelihood of reporting a medication error.

The overall response rate was 57% (43% for doctors, 68% for nurses, and 64% for pharmacists). Results showed that doctors were unlikely to report less-serious medication errors (median value of 2 on the Likert scale). Nurses and pharmacists (median value of 5) were likely to report less-serious as well as serious medication errors despite their fears of receiving disciplinary action. All healthcare professionals were more likely to report an error as the clinical scenarios had a progressively worsening outcome for the patient.

These results suggest that among healthcare professionals, there are differing attitudes to reporting medication errors. Differing approaches are therefore required to encourage medication error reporting among different healthcare professionals. Future study is required to further investigate these findings and improve reporting rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-853
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number8
Early online date8 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • medication error
  • attitudes to reporting
  • adverse events
  • barriers


Dive into the research topics of 'Attitudes to reporting medication error among differing healthcare professionals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this