Increased anxiety and loss of sleep, job satisfaction and professional reputation were reported by physicians who committed medical errors, and many physicians who experienced a near miss suffered emotional and job-related stress as well, according to a report in the August issue of the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
Of the 3,171 physicians in the U.S. and Canada that researchers surveyed between July 2003 and June 2004, 57% said that they had been involved with a serious error, 36% with a minor error and 7% with a near miss. The more serious the error, the more the physicians felt anxiety about future errors and the more they experienced loss of confidence, job satisfaction and sleep, the report said. Although 82% of the physicians said they were interested in receiving counseling after a serious error, 90% said that they did not think their hospital or organization adequately supported them or helped them cope with error-related stress. There were other barriers to getting counseling as well, with 43% saying that it was hard to take time off from work, 35% saying that they didnt believe it would be helpful, and another 35% saying that they were concerned the counseling session wouldnt be kept confidential. The report stated that this is the largest study ever of how medical errors affect practicing physicians.