We determined to identify what we can do, not just within our respective disciplines, but particularly together, to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety. This was in response to the historic report, “To Err is Human,” published by the Institute of Medicine one year ago, documenting in a dramatic way that “health care ” in the United States can be dangerous to your health. A prestigious panel of experts reviewed recent studies and concluded that serious errors occur in the process of patient care, resulting in tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. Many recommendations were to address these most troubling findings. And perhaps none are more important and urgent than improving the way physicians and nurses work together to improve patient safety. The following report captures our comprehensive deliberations and recommends much needed actions and activities we consider essential to improve patient safety. However, each recommendation must be considered in the light of the following: 1) Historical Divide Between the Disciplines- Medicine and nursing often practice as two independent and parallel professions, preventing the partnership and collaboration necessary for improving patient safety. 2) Need for Systems Reform- It is a myth that health care operates as a system. Health care must be reformed to incorporate mechanisms and methods which enhance patient safety and prevent harm. 3) Need for Interdisciplinary Training and Practice- Improvements in patient safety are impossible without interdisciplinary team training and practice. 4) Multicultural Context- The increasing diversity of the nation's population mandates that patient safety education and practice be conducted in the context of cultural competency. For these recommendations to become a reality will require leadership and commitment on all levels of the nursing and medical professions- nothing short of a revolution in how we educate and train nurses and doctors, and how we practice together
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