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Patient Safety

Each day in Canada, patients’ safety is placed under threat by potential harms that nurses have professional and ethical duties to minimize or prevent. While previously referred to as incidents, adverse events, unsafe acts or errors, today these threats are better understood as “harms.” This shift in language is part of a movement away from a culture of blame. Doing so reflects patients’ understanding of potential harms and is in keeping with definitions used by the World Health Organization and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. While nurses play a significant role in improving patient safety, the roles of interprofessional teams, health-care organizations and the health-care system are also important. CNA and its partners have developed the following resources to guide nursing practice on this issue.