On Nurses’ Learning from Errors at Work

  • Johannes BauerEmail author
  • Veronika Leicher
  • Regina H. Mulder
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 16)


In this chapter, we aim at synthesizing several of our studies that investigated processes, practices, and conditions of nurses’ learning at work related to the occurrence of errors. Dealing with errors in a learning-oriented way has been subject to intensive debate in health care. Researchers have argued that errors can be important sources of professional learning, if they are analyzed properly, and thereby help reduce the probability of their re-occurrence. The chapter starts with a discussion of nursing as a profession with high demands for continuous learning at work and professional development. In this context, we highlight the potential contribution of learning from errors. Next, we summarize and integrate findings from two expert-interview studies and two surveys, respectively, which investigated typical errors in hospital and elder care nursing as well as available evidence on a model of nurses’ engagement in error-related learning activities. In the conclusion, we offer suggestions on how nurses’ learning from errors may be supported on the individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels. Moreover, we elaborate on consequences for nurses’ initial vocational education and continuing professional development.


Learning Activity Mediation Model Continue Professional Development Patient Safety Culture Team Climate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Bauer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Veronika Leicher
    • 2
  • Regina H. Mulder
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Educational ScienceUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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