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Veterinarians' experiences with near misses and adverse events

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Veterinary Information Network, 777 W Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 4 Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To assess the prevalence of medical errors (specifically, near misses [NMs] and adverse events [AEs]) and their personal and professional impact on veterinarians.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE Members of the Veterinary Information Network (n = 46,481).

PROCEDURES An electronic survey regarding veterinarians' experiences with NMs and AEs was distributed via email to an online veterinary community between September 24 and October 21, 2015. Responses were summarized and compared between genders by means of the χ2 test.

RESULTS 606 veterinarians completed the survey (1.3% response rate). Overall, 447 (73.8%) respondents reported involvement in ≥ 1 NM (n = 389 [64.2%]) or AE (179 [29.5%]). The NMs had a short-term (≤ 1 week) adverse impact on professional life for 68.0% (261/384) of respondents and longer-term negative impact for 36.4% (140/385). The impact on respondents' personal lives was similar (63.6% [245/385] and 33.5% [129/385], respectively). For AEs, these numbers were 84.1% (148/176), 56.2% (99/177), 77.8% (137/176), and 50.6% (89/175), respectively. Both NMs and AEs were more likely to negatively impact female veterinarians than male veterinarians.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE These findings suggested that many veterinarians experience emotional distress after a medical error. Support should be provided to mitigate this adverse impact on the wellbeing of veterinarians and, potentially, their future patients.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To assess the prevalence of medical errors (specifically, near misses [NMs] and adverse events [AEs]) and their personal and professional impact on veterinarians.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE Members of the Veterinary Information Network (n = 46,481).

PROCEDURES An electronic survey regarding veterinarians' experiences with NMs and AEs was distributed via email to an online veterinary community between September 24 and October 21, 2015. Responses were summarized and compared between genders by means of the χ2 test.

RESULTS 606 veterinarians completed the survey (1.3% response rate). Overall, 447 (73.8%) respondents reported involvement in ≥ 1 NM (n = 389 [64.2%]) or AE (179 [29.5%]). The NMs had a short-term (≤ 1 week) adverse impact on professional life for 68.0% (261/384) of respondents and longer-term negative impact for 36.4% (140/385). The impact on respondents' personal lives was similar (63.6% [245/385] and 33.5% [129/385], respectively). For AEs, these numbers were 84.1% (148/176), 56.2% (99/177), 77.8% (137/176), and 50.6% (89/175), respectively. Both NMs and AEs were more likely to negatively impact female veterinarians than male veterinarians.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE These findings suggested that many veterinarians experience emotional distress after a medical error. Support should be provided to mitigate this adverse impact on the wellbeing of veterinarians and, potentially, their future patients.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix s1 (PDF 123 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Schoenfeld-Tacher (regina_schoenfeld@ncsu.edu).