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5 Effective Ways to Reduce Medication Errors in Nursing Practice

5 Effective Ways to Reduce Medication Errors in Nursing Practice

To reducing medication errors in nursing practice, we need to follow the rights of medication administration. This includes, among others, involving patients and their families in the process. To reduce the mistakes, we must ensure that we are well rested, without interruptions, and use the most current resources for drug information.

Reducing Medication Errors in Nursing Practice: A Recent History

In 1999, The Institute of Medicine reported that medical errors caused between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths yearly. Over 7,000 of these deaths were due to medication mistakes. The FDA and other government agencies responded by committing more resources to the drug safety program to reducing medication errors in nursing practice. Although regulatory efforts have been helpful in many cases, mistakes still happen, and staff must be vigilant to minimize those risks of errors. The nature of their job makes it difficult for nurses and healthcare professionals who get a diploma from best nursing schools in Illinois (private schools) to succeed. Every day, they have to manage many patients and multiple responsibilities. This leaves little time for other duties. Practical nursing staff are often tired and weary from long shifts or working overnight. In a study published in the Global Journal of Health Science 2016, the researchers sought to determine “the causes of medication errors and strategies for preventing them from the nurse’s perspective.” Ninety-seven percent of the participants in the study identified fatigue due to high workload as the main influencing factor of medication errors in healthcare settings & long-term care facilities.

Five Tips to Prevent Medication Errors for Nurses

1.Make Sure You Adhere to the Five Rights When Administering Medication

You must remember the five rights of drugs every time you issue a dosage. It is the easiest way to prevent clinical nursing medication errors. This should be done at each medication administration. These “rights” include:

Right patient: Is this medication prescribed to the right patient and not to the patient next door? Double-check names. Make sure you are giving the right medicine. It should match the doctor’s instructions and the patient’s treatment plan. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor if something seems wrong, such as when you see a drug used for a diagnosis that has never been seen before. To understand the proper high-risk medications that must be avoided, one must attend private LPN schools near me to learn clinical practice.

Dosage: Check the dose amount twice and three times before administration. What is the best way to take pills? Should they be crushed or whole for swallowing? Does the medication come in an IV or NG tube? These details matter.

The right time: Make sure that the medication is taken at the correct time. To avoid double doses, it should be noted if the drug is being taken at intervals, such as every 4 hours.

2.Attention to Packaging, Terminology, and Labeling of Drugs

American Nurse Today reports that the packaging of many drugs is similar. Pamela Anderson is an adult nurse practitioner with Clarian Health, Indianapolis. She says that healthcare organizations should ensure all medications come in clearly labeled unit-dose packaging for institutional use.

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Anderson continues by recalling a tragic incident that took place in 2007. Heparin was administered to several children in massive doses. Three infants have died due to packaging and labeling that was misleading.

3.Check Each Patient’s Procedure Twice or Three Times

It is the easiest way to prevent medication errors. This usually involves having a second nurse and healthcare provider average review new medication orders to ensure the correct medication for each patient is recorded and entered correctly into the physician’s prescription and medication administration record in healthcare facility.

4.Add a Zero Before the Decimal Point

This simple act may save a person’s life. A dosage of.25mg can be easily misinterpreted as 25mg. This could have a negative outcome for the patient.

5.Document Everything

Proper documentation includes medication labeling and legible documentation in charts or medication records. A lack of documentation especially critical in an A&P class (human anatomy and physiology) can lead to an medication administration error. Suppose a practical nurse must remember to record a dose of an as-needed medicine. In that case, another nurse may administer a second dose because there is no record.

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The nurse’s role is to prioritize the patient, and healthcare team and nurses must prevent medication errors to improve overall health and ensure patients’ success. Kathy Malloch is a member of the American Nurses Foundation Board of Trustees. She said, “Medication errors are preventable, and nurses and health care professionals are in a position to make a significant difference.”