Issue 21
Monday, 04 December 2017
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Melanie Underwood is conducting the first Australian study using coronial reports to analyse nurse-related adverse events resulting in the death of patients
Melanie Underwood is conducting the first Australian study using coronial reports to analyse nurse-related adverse events resulting in the death of patients

Certification to assist in preventable deaths

By Leanne Miles

A Nursing Lecturer is about to become the first Australian nurse to be certified in a world-renowned accident analysis framework.

School of Health PhD candidate and Lecturer Melanie Underwood will travel to the United States this week to undertake her accreditation in Las Vegas. Her research is the first Australian study to use coronial reports to analyse nurse-related adverse events resulting in the death of patients. 

With more than 25,000 potentially preventable deaths in hospitals around Australia each year, Ms Underwood is working to analyse the causes of system and individual failure.

“As nurses represent the largest group in the health care workforce, providing 24-hour care, they are in a key position to contribute to improving patient safety,” she said.

Ms Underwood was the first to use a system that was originally used by the US military to analyse failures resulting in adverse events called the “Human Factors Analysis and Classification System” (HFACS). 

Once certified Ms Underwood will be qualified to provide HFACS training to staff and research students and also educate future nurses to become aware of the causes of system failure.

“The methodology has a broad range of uses,” she said. “In the case of my research I am using HFACS to categorise and analyse active and latent failures at each level of the organisations and to understand the interrelationships between these layers of influence that resulted in the deaths of patients.

“By analysing these factors we hope to reduce preventable adverse events in the future,” she said.