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Medication errors by nurses

Doctors are not the only healthcare providers who make medical mistakes. Nurses in Arizona and around the country are often a patient's primary caretaker during the course of a hospital or nursing home stay, and medication errors are common. These mistakes can lead to serious issues, and healthcare facilities should work on improving systems to reduce these types of errors.

According to Sanford-Brown, medication errors are one of the top five mistakes made by nurses, especially new ones. When it comes to medication, there are numerous factors to consider, and an error related to any of them can be disastrous. When a nurse gives medication to a patient, first it is important to make sure it is the right medicine and the right patient. The nurse needs to then give the right dose at the right time. It also needs the right route, whether that is orally, intravenously, nasally, intramuscularly, rectally or subcutaneously.

The Food and Drug Administration discusses that medication errors can lead to serious and harmful effects such as hospitalization, disability and even death. As a result, facilities and nurses should take precautionary steps to ensure medication is being given correctly. Some things that they can do to prevent errors include:

  • Clear and understandable directions
  • Barcodes to identify the right drug
  • Different label colors to clarify various strengths of medication
  • Labels with bolded and large numbers and letters
  • Distinct package design to indicate proper route of administration
  • Legible imprint codes on tablets
  • Clear patient notes indicating allergies or medication sensitivities.



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