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Open Access Research article

Factors associated with reporting nursing errors in Iran: a qualitative study

Fatemeh Hashemi1*, Alireza Nikbakht Nasrabadi2 and Fariba Asghari3

Author Affiliations

1 Fatemeh (P.B.U.H) College of Nursing and Midwifery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Nursing 2012, 11:20  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-11-20

Published: 18 October 2012



Reporting the professional errors for improving patient safety is considered essential not only in hospitals, but also in ambulatory care centers. Unfortunately, a great number of nurses, similar to most clinicians, do not report their errors. Therefore, the present study aimed to clarify the factors associated with reporting the nursing errors through the experiences of clinical nurses and nursing managers.


A total of 115 nurses working in the hospitals and specialized clinics affiliated to Tehran and Shiraz Universities of Medical Sciences, Iran participated in this qualitative study. The study data were collected through a semi-structured group discussion conducted in 17 sessions and analyzed by inductive content analysis approach.


The main categories emerged in this study were: a) general approaches of the nurses towards errors, b) barriers in reporting the nursing errors, and c) motivators in error reporting.


Error reporting provides extremely valuable information for preventing future errors and improving the patient safety. Overall, regarding motivators and barriers in reporting the nursing errors, it is necessary to enact regulations in which the ways of reporting the error and its constituent elements, such as the notion of the error, are clearly identified.

Nursing errors; Barriers; Motivators; Patient safety