A Letter from the CNO

Riverside believes in a culture of safety where timely reporting of errors and a comprehensive, confidential peer-review process in which errors can be examined justly.

Recently, RaDonda Vaught, a former nurse from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was criminally convicted for reckless homicide and abuse of an impaired adult after mistakenly administering the wrong medication that killed an elderly patient in 2017. 

We do not want this incident to spark fear of criminalization for the reporting of human error amongst members of our team. The medication administration error, which she self-reported, casts a shadow over the nursing profession which has been caring for patients and communities tirelessly and wearily during the global pandemic amidst historic workforce shortages

The nursing profession is deeply disappointed with the conviction which prompted the ANA to release the following statement:

“The Code of Ethics for Nurses states that while ensuring that nurses are held accountable for individual practice, errors should be corrected or remediated, and disciplinary action taken only if warranted. ANA cautions against accidental medical errors being tried in a court of law. Health care is highly complex and ever-changing, resulting in a high risk and error-prone system.  Organizational processes and structures must support a “just culture”, which recognizes that health care professionals can make mistakes and systems may fail. All nurses and other health care professionals must be treated fairly when errors occur. “

As a Magnet® designated organization, we at Riverside are committed to the development of action plans to quickly address system gaps using evidence-based practice. We have demonstrated over the past several months combatting Covid-19 our commitment to guide our staff through in-time training, the creation of policies and procedures, and increased leader visibility and support.