Medical errors are considered the most common health-threatening issues that affect patient care. According to the CDC, more than1.5 million medical errors are reported annually. The consequences of such errors include mortality, disability, prolonged hospital stay, and related costs. Unfortunately, nurses cause over 60% of these errors since they spend most of their clinical time administering drugs. As such, nurses should be at the forefront in upholding prevention strategies.
Here are effective ways to prevent medical errors in nursing:
#Confirm Where You Have Doubts
Through computerized information systems, text references, order sets, or patient’s file, you can access accurate drug information. If you have any queries or concerns about a drug, ensure that you ask your peer or senior colleague. Remember that you are still responsible even if the doctor prescribed the wrong dose or frequency.
#Document Each Drug Administered
Accurate documentation, including accurate recording of the name of drug, dosage, time, route, and patient response is vital to medical follow-ups.
#Ensure Proper Storage of Medications
Always ensure that you store medicine accordingly. Some might require refrigeration to maintain efficacy while others need to be stored at room temperature. Also, if you are using a multi-dose vial, ensure that you label and store it properly so that no one uses it beyond its expiration date.
#Take an Active Role in Correcting Systemic Problems
Systemic problems such as drugs with almost similar names placed in proximity to each other can lead to medical errors. If you encounter such issues, request your supervisor to correct them and highlight how they can increase the risk of medical errors.
While administering drugs, avoid any form of distractions. If you need to be engaged in other issues – for instance, in a conversation with the doctor- it’s crucial to stop the process and resume once you are done. This will save you from any drug mix-ups.
#Ask For Continuing Education
Advanced studies empower nurses and can help avoid medical errors. Thus, you should regularly go for training sessions, especially when new medicines are introduced to your workstation. The training entails drug-related policies, protocols, procedures and more.
#Implement the Five R’s
Following the five rights checklist is crucial. These include the right patient, the right drug, right dose, right time, and right route.
Preventing medical errors in nursing is a crucial way to ensure the best care for your needy patients. Although no single measure can offer a complete solution for dealing with the errors, a combination of various undertakings provides a road map towards a competent health system. Thus, it’s your responsibility to observe the preventive measures, create solutions, and meet the challenges ahead.