AONL Press Releases

Statement in Response to the Conviction of Nurse RaDonda Vaught

Press Release

Chicago, (March 28, 2022)

Robyn Begley, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer of the American Hospital Association, and CEO of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.

The verdict in this tragic case will have a chilling effect on the culture of safety in health care. The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report To Err Is Human concluded that we cannot punish our way to safer medical practices.  We must instead encourage nurses and physicians to report errors so we can identify strategies to make sure they don’t happen again.  Criminal prosecutions for unintentional acts are the wrong approach.  They discourage health caregivers from coming forward with their mistakes, and will complicate efforts to retain and recruit more people in to nursing and other health care professions that are already understaffed and strained by years of caring for patients during the pandemic.

About the American Organization for Nursing Leadership

As the national professional organization of more than 12,000 nurse leaders, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) is the voice of nursing leadership. Our membership encompasses nurse leaders working in hospitals, health systems, academia and other care settings across the care continuum. Since 1967, the organization has led the field of nursing leadership through professional development, advocacy and research that advances nursing leadership practice and patient care. AONL is an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. For more information, visit