Course Summary

The identification and prevention of medical errors requires the participation of all members of the interprofessional health team. The traditional way of coping with medical errors was to assume that errors were the result of individual mistakes like carelessness and inattention, creating a culture of blame. Understanding the root causes of medical errors, the systemic problems, is essential to improve outcomes. Without full disclosure, the problem of medical errors cannot be reduced. Enhancing health team knowledge will help to avoid the risk of a medical error and improve patient safety.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • Medical Errors: Scope of the Problem
  • Prevalence of Medical Errors
    • Defining Medical Errors
  • Types of Medical Errors
    • Diagnostic Errors
    • Patient Falls Leading to Injury
    • Laboratory Test Errors
    • Medication and Surgical Errors
  • Causes of Medical Errors
    • Poor Interprofessional Communication
    • Lack of Knowledge
    • High-Risk Healthcare Settings
    • Time Constraints and Patient-Dependent Factors
    • Root Causes: Human and System Factors
  • Medical Error Prevention Strategies
    • Diagnostic Errors and Cognitive Mistakes
    • Fall Risk
    • Laboratory Tests
    • Medication and Surgical Safety
    • Interprofessional Education
    • Root Cause Analysis
    • Patient Education
  • Reporting and Disclosure of Medical Errors
    • Barriers to Reporting
    • Disclosing an Error
  • Case Studies: Risk Factors Leading to Medication Errors
    • Case 1: Wrongful Administration of Epinephrine
    • Case 2: Accidental Administration of Insulin
  • Summary


Dana Bartlett, RN, BSN, MSN, MA, CSPI

Dana Bartlett is a professional nurse and author. His clinical experience includes 16 years of ICU and ER experience and over 27 years as a poison control center information specialist. Dana has published numerous CE and journal articles, written NCLEX material, textbook chapters, and more than 100 online CE articles, and done editing and reviewing for publishers such as Elsevier, Lippincott, and Thieme. He has written widely on the subject of toxicology and was a contributing editor, toxicology section, for Critical Care Nurse journal. He is currently employed at the Connecticut Poison Control Center. He lives in Wappingers Falls, NY.

Noah H. Carpenter, MD

Dr. Noah Carpenter is a Thoracic and Peripheral Vascular Surgeon. He completed his Bachelor of Science in chemistry and medical school and training at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Carpenter completed surgical residency and fellowship at the University of Edmonton and Affiliated Hospitals in Edmonton, Alberta, and an additional Adult Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has specialized in microsurgical techniques, vascular endoscopy, laser and laparoscopic surgery in Brandon, Manitoba and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and in Colorado, Texas, and California. Dr. Carpenter has an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Calgary, and was appointed a Citizen Ambassador to China, and has served as a member of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, the Canadian College of Health Service Executives, the Science Institute of the Northwest Territories, Canada Science Council, and the International Society of Endovascular Surgeons, among others. He has been an inspiration to youth, motivating them to understand the importance of achieving higher education.

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