Medication Errors

Approximately, 1.5 million people are injured in the United States due to medication related errors. Errors involving prescription medications kill up to 7,000 Americans per year, according to the Institute of Medicine, and that the financial costs of drug-related morbidity and mortality may run nearly $77 billion a year. FDA also reviews about 1,400 reports of medication errors per month. Before administering a medication, it is the responsibility of the nurse to ensure that the right patient is receiving the right medication, for the right reason/s, the right dosage and route, at the right time.

Whoever administers the medication is ultimately responsible for any error that may occur. Therefore it is the nurse’s duty to report a medication error is accordance with facility protocol. The nurse is supposed to notify the physician and monitor the patient for any adverse reactions related to the error. An incident report is also done and is used by the hospital for reeducation to avoid future occurrences. Failure to report or take appropriate action when a medication error occurs may lead to loss of employment, action by the state board of nurses, civil or criminal changes.

It is the nurse’s responsibility to document appropriately, in a timely manner, and failure to do so is also considered a medication error.

Students` Legal Role and Responsibility:

Student nurses have the responsibility to acquire theoretical and clinical skills necessary to deliver the best of care to the public. It is a student’s responsibility to communicate with the assigned staff nurse constantly and their clinical instructors as well.

Most errors occur with medications that a give during the non standard hours, including early morning. Students and staff nurses should use the same MAR and bring the patient’s MAR to the bedside and document drug administration immediately after the patient has taken the medications. Hence clear communication between student and staff nurse, as well as the instructor is of utmost importance in decreasing the risk of making medication omission errors. Anxiety makes a student prone to medication errors as well. Breathing exercises have proven effective in relieving anxiety. Medication errors lead may lead to dismissal from a nursing program. Depending on the severity and frequency of medication errors by students, the school may lose its privilege to practice in some facilities. Therefore it is important that student avoid making any medication errors. Medication errors and years of experience

Administration errors reflect knowledge deficits, with errors declining in the first few years of clinical experience (C. G. Bailey, et al.). Each year of experience, up to 6 years, reduced the risk of error by 10.9% and serious error by 18.5% (J. Westbrook et al. 2013) These findings suggests that inexperienced nurses constantly require training and supervision with a focus on correct medication administration. Knowledge gained from this study

I learnt that the nurse are the doctor’s eyes and ears; and they rely on them to identify errors, changes of condition, abnormal lab values etceteras so that they may prescribe the right medication appropriately. It is important to always have your reference material available such as, drug reference book, patho-physiology reference book etceteras; because medication administration goes beyond just following the doctor’s written order and giving the patient the medication. If a nurse does not know why the medication is being given, they are not be able to identify an error before administering, or know when to hold the medication and notifying a physician. Good clinical practice begins while a nurse is in school; therefore it is crucial to always comply with facility protocol. Hence knowledge deficit compromises the patient’s safety.


C. G. Bailey, B.S. Engel, J.N. Luescher, M.L.Taylor: (date unknown) Medication Errors In Relation To Education & Medication Errors In Relation To Years of Nursing J., Treiber L. When the 5 rights go wrong: medication errors from the nursing perspective. Journal of Nursing Care Qual 2010;25:240–7 Experience: retrieved July 31 2013 from J. I. Westbrook, A. Woods, Rob MI, et al. (2010) Association of

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