Published by The Advocacy Committee of the
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Learning From Stories--a Pathway to Patient Safety

Association of Operating Room Nurses Journal, January, 2004 v79 i1 p224(3)


Storytelling has a rich tradition in educating nursing students, orienting new staff members, and developing competencies, and stories often are more helpful in teaching a concept than a classic lecture. Stories help listeners remember facts and details that otherwise might be forgotten. When events are told in the form of a story, they catch our attention and leave a lasting memory.

Earlier this year, the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN) launched Safety Net, a near miss reporting system. Its intended purpose is to collect stories from perioperative nurses and clinicians about near misses (ie, occurrences that could have resulted in error but did not). AORN plans to analyze these stories, learn from common themes, and offer practice guidance to prevent similar events from occurring. Near-miss stories also can provide helpful information about the clinical environments in which care is provided. For example, stories can provide human factor details about noise level, distractions, interruptions, ineffective communication, fatigue, and procedure complexity.

Subjects Covered: education, medicine

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