But assuming that the mistake is just that—a mistake—and not some egregious act of negligence, it pays for cooler heads to prevail. If a nurse is punished for admitting the error, the message isn't "don't make mistakes." The message is "Keep your mouth shut."
That's because no matter how careful we are, mistakes happen. It's a fact of life.
If the culture on a unit is for nurses to keep their heads down and mouths shut as they move through their work day, mistakes will not only occasionally happen, there won't be any chance to improve or learn from them.
It's within nurse leaders' power to make sure that they walk the safety talk and encourage their staff to safely do the same.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.