Learning From Disaster: Patient Safety and the Role of Oncology Nurses
The widely publicized chemotherapy error that led to a journalist’s death in 1994 caused great sorrow among oncology nurses and catalyzed two decades’ worth of effort to improve patient safety. The situation taught oncology nurses, oncologists, and oncology pharmacists that interdisciplinary protocols and interprofessional communication are essential to preserving patients’ well-being. These patient safety efforts, along with parallel efforts to improve occupational safety in oncology, have made real progress in 20 years, but much remains to be done.
At a Glance
- The Oncology Nursing Society has played a key role in the creation of guidelines and protocols to prevent patient safety errors.
- Guidelines and protocols are vital in the protection of oncology nurses’ own safety.
- Workplace structures and processes—not just individual nurses’ behavior—must be addressed to promote safety.