Some minor incidents may not seem to be worth reporting, but you must report them as an accident. What is the exact definition of an event that you need to report as an incident in nursing?

It may not seem important to you that a minor occurrence in a busy hospital ward would cause you to stop working and complete an accident report. Then it can become a liability, both for you and the facility. What you need to understand about nursing incident reports:

1. What is an incident report in nursing?

In nursing, the incident report details an injury or damage to property. It is important to complete an incident form if the conditions described above occur at a medical center.

The second thing you should know is what you need.

We’ll create a standard that you can apply to the reporting standards of your healthcare facility. The concept is the same, even if standards differ. Join us as we examine the incident report and learn four important things.

2. Reporting an incident report

Reporting an incident will be a simple matter at times. A patient may slip and fracture their arm. It’s not uncommon for a patient to suffer a serious injury after a simple fall. What happens if a person stubs his toe while using the bathroom?

Reporting many situations may seem pointless. Sometimes, nurses will fear retaliation if there is an incident on their floor. They may be reluctant to report even minor incidents, even when it’s best for them to do so.

How can you tell a serious incident from a minor? These definitions will vary from facility to facility. A team of attorneys will determine what should be noted in a hospital. If your hospital’s policies are a bit lax, we’ll see if our team can help.

We are not lawyers and we recommend that you always consult a lawyer when it comes to liability. We do know a little bit about reporting incidents. A reportable event will meet one or both of these requirements.

  1. An injury is a person’s suffering.
  2. Property sustains damage.

When a person is injured, file an incident report

The easiest way to deal with an injury is by reporting it. This could be something as simple as a cut on a piece of paper. The grey areas are clearly defined and easy to understand. Reporting any injury is mandatory.

By implementing this rule, medical facilities have the best opportunity to catch and correct any potential hazards. A program that reports incidents must be clear and unambiguous. Only then can it improve the quality of care provided to patients.

If property is damaged, file an incident report

You can implement a property damage reporting policy that is similar to the incident reporting in nursing. This means that an incident report is filed if there’s been damage. It is a black-and-white approach, without any grey areas for misinterpretation.

Nothing is too small to be reported. A broken wheel on an IV cart or med trolley or a mirror that was damaged by a patient could all be reported. It doesn’t matter what caused the damage, as long as it is reported.

3. What Should Be Noted

We’ve already discussed how to report your facility without having a concise and clear reporting procedure. But deciding what to say is another topic. Why? What constitutes damage or injury to a person? In some cases, this definition may be ambiguous and cause doubts about whether to report an incident.

You’re always busy, even if you are a nurse! Every minute, there are close-calls that occur in busy wards. If you stand by a swinging entry door, you can witness multiple incidents. There are also safety concerns in the medical facility.

How should an injury be defined? Do minor paper cuts count if they heal within a few days?

It is possible that nurses who are working in a busy ward will avoid reporting minor injuries like paper cut or stubbed heels.

What happens when, six-months later, the patient is accompanied by an attorney who demands restitution because of alleged abuse for a minor incident such as a papercut or a toe-stuffing injury? There may be little defense if you don’t have a record.

It is important to note that you must always file a report of any injury you become aware of, regardless if it’s minor or severe. You’ll need to keep a record of all injuries to protect you and your workplace.

4. Why nurses need to file an incident report

Nurses need to report incidents for five main reasons:

  1. Legal Responsibility
  2. Facility/Organization Liability
  3. Patients and Facilities Enhanced
  4. Improved Workplace Safety Culture
  5. Improved Restitution Procedure

Individual Accountability

Morally speaking, we should ignore personal responsibility and ‘just make the right decision.’ You have to protect yourself in a society where lawsuits are thrown around like candy at Halloween.

It is not something anyone wants to consider, but it does happen every day. In order to protect their own liability, nurses need to fill out an incident report with any events that include property damage.

Facility/Organization Liability

No one wants to lose their job. Everyone wants to keep their job. It is even worse to be blackballed from your community because of a facility’s administration being sued over an incident you did not report. It’s not about personal liability, but it can be.

A strict reporting system for incidents will keep you out of trouble.

Patients and Facilities Enhanced

Safety and operations managers cannot implement new procedures, evolve existing ones, or replace them unless they document all incidents. Documenting the events that led to an accident is crucial to improving a facility’s functions. Everyone wants a more positive working environment. A small improvement can make a huge difference in the life of a patient.

Improved Workplace Safety Culture

If everyone is following the rules then you can easily follow them.

The same is true of incident reporting by nurses. Teamwork is the best way to ensure safety.

Improved Restitution Procedure

Unfortunately, hospitals are places where many incidents occur. Everyday people of all backgrounds visit hospitals. Some incidents happen, such as when a person has their belongings stolen. How will the administrative staff know the appropriate restitution if a nurse is busy and does not report the incident?

For nurses, it is essential to keep track of all incidents occurring in medical facilities. This helps maintain a safe, fair facility. It is important that all patients, staff, and visitors are treated with dignity. This means that they can make a claim and seek restitution in the event of a justified situation.

Last Thoughts on Incident reporting for Nurses

It is best to always complete an incident report after an accident or damage has occurred. A good management team at a facility will promote an open report policy to discourage retribution of any nurses who perform their duties by completing a report.

It doesn’t matter what you do, to be truly protected it is important to submit a factual report without any bias. By completing the report factually, and without bias or judgment, you can be sure that your information is accurate and you won’t create any future headaches.


  • rowandavid

    I am a 32-year-old educational blogger and student. I love to share my knowledge and experiences with others through writing. I believe that knowledge is power, and I am passionate about helping others learn and grow.