Thus, nurses play an important role in the safety of the patient. In this article, medication errors by nurses will be discussed with reference to a case scenario in an old age nursing home.
Ms X is a registered nurse in the State of Georgia working in a renowned Long-term care nursing home. On a busy day, the nursing manager noticed that she did not sign the MARs sheet even after administering the drugs to a patient. This was against the rule that all nurses must sign the medication chart soon after administering medication to patient. When confronted Ms.X argued that she had to do so to save time in the busy ward. She had planned to sign the charts after delivering medications to all the patients. However, the manager tells her that "no sign means not given the medication." Thus, there is a medication error and this is an illegal action by the nurse.
Medication error may be defined as "any preventable medication-related event that adversely affects a patient in a nursing home and is related to professional practice, or healthcare products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, prescription order communications, product labeling, packaging and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring and use" (Greene et al, 2005). Like any other safety issues, medication errors occur due to system failures or human errors. Factors associated with medication errors include using wrong name, abbreviation or dosage form of the drug, wrong calculation of drug dosage, atypical dosage, deficiencies in training, poor perception of risk of medication error and undue time pressure. The most commonly reported medication errors are omission errors, improper dosage and unauthorized drug errors (ICN, 2009).
Medication errors by nurses can be prevented by following the "five rights" of giving medication. They are "right drug,