The nurse's responsibility in the prevention of medication errors - Essay Example

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The nurse's responsibility in the prevention of medication error Name Lecturer Date Abstract Medication error occurs generally when a health care provider chose the right solution of medical care but incorrectly executes it, or selects an inappropriate method of care…
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The nurses responsibility in the prevention of medication errors
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The nurse's responsibility in the prevention of medication error Lecturer Medication error occurs generally when a health care provider chose the right solution of medical care but incorrectly executes it, or selects an inappropriate method of care. There are 5 medical administration rights; the right patient, the right dosage, the right drug, the right time, and the right route. As noted by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP), medication error is any preventable occurrence or event that may lead to or cause patient harm or inappropriate medication use, while the medication is under the control of a health care provider, consumer, or patient. Medication errors hamper pharmacotherapeutic outcomes, and may result into death or serious illness. In addition, medication errors can lead to litigation against health care agency, physician, or nurse. The rates of medication errors in hospitals, communities, and homes are on the increase in spite of extensive efforts on the part of health care professionals. Generally, medication errors are caused by various factors ranging from: omission of one of the drug administration rights, to failure to note the patient variables like hepatic functions or changes in renal functions into account, to failure to perform with agency a system check for appropriateness and accuracy, to giving medication based on illegal or incomplete order, where a nurse is not sure of the right dosage or method of administration, and to giving medication based on orders made verbally or on phone. Introduction Inadequate or total lack of knowledge concerning medication causes medication errors; it is very significant that nurses remain in the current pharmacotherapeutics. Nurses should therefore not administer any medication with which they are not familiar because this is considered unsafe medical practice. There are various avenues through which nurses may obtain medication updates and knowledge in order to prevent medication errors. Current references on drugs should be available on all nursing units, and other sources and medication references are available in nursing journals in the internet. It is therefore recommended that nurses familiarize their memories with researches on medication errors and the preventive measures. This paper seeks to discuss the nurse’s responsibility in the prevention of medication errors. In most cases, there is a hesitation in having all medication errors reported in the nursing profession. This is because majority of nurses are afraid of humiliation from their peers as well as their superiors when reporting medical errors, even though it is a legal and ethical responsibility of nurses to document and report such events. Unreported medication errors can affect patient health and result into legal ramifications for the nurse in charge. In most severe cases, adverse reactions resulting from medical errors demand initiation of lifesaving interventions for the patients. Nurses should therefore take the ethical responsibility to report and act on medication errors promptly in order to avoid further patient health complications. This is because after a medication error, the patient may need additional treatments and intense supervision failure of which the patient may resultantly lose his or her life. This leads us to an obvious question on what nurses need to do to prevent medication errors, the nurse’s responsibility in preventing medication errors. In a clinical setting, nurses have the responsibility to prevent medical errors. Nurses should take some basic steps in order to avoid such situations leading to medical errors. For example, a nurse needs to do the following in order to prevent a medication error: assessment, ask the patient concerning allergies to medications or food, current health status, and use of herbal supplements. A nurse should ensure that he or she observes all the medical administration rights as discussed in the first paragraph; planning, nurses should ensure the patients state the outcome of the medication prescribed, including the right dose and the right time to take medication; implementation, nurses should advise the patients to take their medicines as prescribed and ask any questions if their medication look different in size or color; and evaluation, nurses need to assess whether pharmacotherapy outcomes have been accomplished and whether there are adverse reactions encountered by the patient. Conclusion In summary, the action of a nurse in her job plays a very important role in medical administration and therefore should be responsible for the medication process. Nurses should accurately and safely administer medications in order to prevent medication errors. Medication error may happen at any medication stage, therefore prevention measures are of essence. Nurses need to prepare medications for one patient at a time, double check all drug doses, and finally involve the patient when administering the drugs. This will help nurses to prevent medication errors that originate from confusion of which patient for what drug and dose. Nurses can also take a risk reduction and more prospective approach to medical errors. Hospitals and medical facilities should adopt appropriate technologies that are blended with a confidential system of error reporting which protects the nurse’s professional interests. This will be very effective in preventing, detecting and correcting medication errors. References Elizabeth A. Henneman, Fidela S.J. Blank, Anna Gawlinski, and Philip L. Henneman (2006). Strategies Used By Nurses to Recover Medical Errors in an Academic Emergency Department Setting.  Applied Nursing Research.19(2); 70-77. Read More
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