Sheu, Wei, Chen, Yu & Tang (2009) the authors explore the impacts of medication errors in clinical practice as well as the issue of underreporting amidst the massive negativity that such underreporting brings into the healthcare sector. In their article, the authors utilize snow sampling as a strategy to explore the issues that lead to underreporting by nurses as well as using the same methodology as a platform for helping nurses adopt better reporting rates for medication errors. Snow ball sampling provided a system through which nurses in practice are recruited as the subjects of the research and through the training and education they receive, they can then recruit their accomplices this time to utilize the methods and recommendations that the research findings regard as effective in resolving the apparent clinical problem.
A total of 85 nurses were utilized as the sample population resulting to a reported 328 errors; where 259 were actual errors and the remaining 69 were near misses. These were then classified and monitored as other errors with no adverse effects, errors with mild effects, errors with serious consequences such as death or coma. Apparently a majority of these errors were recorded after a thorough double-checks by the colleague nurses and the nurses involved in the error. While the reporting rates for both the actual errors and the near misses were significantly higher than normal, at an average of 62.5% reporting, only a mere 3.5%of the actual errors were disclosed to the patient while none of the near misses was reported. These figures indicate that with proper and guided monitoring and collaboration as well as utilizing the acquaintances and colleagues, nurses stand a better chance of discovering and reporting errors and thus responding timely and appropriately to these errors. The snow sample methodology proved to be a suitable method for increasing the rates if reporting as well as an appropriate education and collaboration strategy for nurses in helping minimize clinical errors.
According to this study, nurses commit more medical errors and are aware of these errors more than other care providers-something that is tied to high interaction with patients in clinical situations by nurses. Nonetheless, many of these errors go unreported due to lack of an effective reporting system. Nonetheless, the study proved the efficacy of snowball sampling in encouraging nurses to provide/release information pertaining to medication errors. The beauty of snow ball sampling is that it is a pretty confidential design upholding the anonymity of the nurse. Wrong prescription and wrong dosing of drugs were found to be the highest forms of medication errors, leading to adverse events or senility. The study highlights the importance of double-checking between colleagues in nursing or clinical team as a way of preventing medication errors.
Sheu, S. J., Wei, I. L., Chen, C. H., Yu, S., & Tang, F. I. (2009). Using snowball sampling method with nurses to understand medication administration errors. Journal of clinical nursing, 18(4), 559-569.