In November 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a comprehensive report on medical errors, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Speaking to the seriousness of the problem and issuing a call for immediate action on the part of nurses and others, the report notes that ". . . it is simply not acceptable for patients to be harmed by the health care system that is supposed to offer healing and comfort." To begin to substantively address safety improvement, the report calls on health care systems to reorient their efforts to reduce error. Rarely are errors the fault of an individual, rather, they are the culmination of characteristics of systems of care. Rather than attach blame to individuals for errors committed, organizations must design non-punitive approaches to error and look well beyond individual providers to understand and redesign system-level processes for error prevention.
This report has captured the attention of every health care stakeholder in the country, from health care professionals to the White House to the U.S. Congress. Organizational members of the Tri-Council have long considered the impact and outcomes of nursing interventions in health care delivery, health status and organizational function. Because of this focus, the following consensus statement represents the thinking of the members of Tri-Council and articulates the role of nursing in addressing and preventing medical error.
The Tri-Council is an alliance of four nursing organizations focused on leadership for education, practice and research. This alliance captures the collectivity of nursing’s social, political, professional and moral authority nationally and internationally to influence and provide stewardship within the profession of nursing. Although each organization within Tri-Council is autonomous with its own constituent membership, common values about nursing unite organizations for dialogue and consensus building. Tri-Council members recognize the value of involving a broader constituency as issues emerge, and therefore invite and encourage other nursing groups and stakeholders to participate in the dialogue about nursing and national health care issues.
The Tri-Council for Nursing is comprised of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the National League for Nursing.
Approved September 2000
Copyright © 2023 Tri-Council for Nursing - All Rights Reserved.