There is a continuous concern about the increasing cases of medication errors within the health care system. Having precise medication administration is a crucial step in patient safety. In order to prevent patient injury it is vital to improve the medication administration process and the health care professional have a responsibility of being extra cautious to ensure that errors are reduced.
Medications play a vital role in healthcare but can also be a substantial main cause of medical error and adverse patient effects. Unfortunately, the integrity of the health care profession is being compromised due to errors happening during the medication administration process. Medication errors are accountable for harming and killing people and rising health care costs. Following national and organizational safety guidelines can prevent the majority of these medication administration errors from occurring. The World Health Organization (WHO) is devoted to the health of the people around the world. It consists of many health experts from around the world to coordinate programs to ensure people have access to fair, affordable care so that they can lead a healthy, happy, and productive lives. The meaning of health is, a State of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 1947).
The WHO’s accomplishments have been extremely successful, causing world life expectancy to gradually increase. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) often use the acronym, “Safety” it is used to protect from a risk or injury. Safety includes, sense the mistake, act to avoid it, follow safety regulations, enquire into injuries, take proper remedial measure and your accountability. According to the FDA a medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer (Potter, Perry, and Stockert 2017). Health care systems conventionally have not focused on the core causes of errors but have tended to emphasis on individual responsibility rather than system concerns.
This varying standard that poor processes and system designs being the core causes of many errors is important to developing plans that will make significant improvements in medication safety. The contributing factors include such issues as a lack of knowledge, poor communication, insufficient performances, poor system designs and defects within the systems health care workers work in. To make significant improvements in medication safety all aspects of how and why errors occur must be understood and addressed.
Medication errors are usually classified into three main categories, prescribing, dispensing and administration errors. Medical errors can arise in any part of the process and by anyone of the health professionals that are involved in the process. This can include the physician, pharmacist, nurse, patient and anyone in the health care team. Nurses are the last line of defense in eliminating adverse medication errors.
The administration of medication is part of the normal daily routine for a nurse which is comes with complexity and risk for both the nurse and patient. There are errors in prescribing medications can include incomplete knowledge of the drug, its interactions, patient’s clinical health condition. Prescription errors also occur because of illegible instructions, strength, dosage and route. There are also errors in mixing up similar drug names and spelling, amount and contraindications. Medical errors can happen at any stage during the administration process by anyone of the health care team. It is essential every time a medication is administrated it is checked against the six rights. The six rights of drug administration help to influence to precise preparation and administration of medication doses.
The following are the six rights: right patient, right drug, right dose, right time, right route and right documentation. Implementing the following safety recommendations such as, utilizing the patient as a crucial member of the healthcare team, being able to use the latest in technology, reduce work place distractions, ands participating in the role of one’s health can help to adhere to the guidelines and increase safety. When nurses build therapeutic relationships with patients and provide education on medications, patients will have a better knowledge of medications therapeutic actions and potential side effects. The main types of medical errors are preventive, diagnostic, treatment and other. Preventive is the failure to provide prophylactic treatment and inadequate monitoring of treatment.
Diagnostic is when there is diagnosis is too late and outdated tests. Treatment is the errors within the medication or procedure. Other can be many factors such as poor communication, equipment breakdown, illegible handwriting, drug interactions, etc. The people experiencing any pain that results from medication errors are the patients, family members and anyone affected including health care members’ careers.
Patients, as well as their families shall in a majority of the case be the first one to notice any issues which usually comes from medication errors. Sometimes, the adverse events are well known or immediate. Other events can be delayed or unfamiliar and patients may not realize that the issue has anything to do with the medication which they are taking. The effects on the patient can influence their health status, cause an overdose in medication, and extend hospital visits, increase hospital and medical expenses.
The challenges for these patients involve the interpretation, perception, attribution of medication related issues. There are other factors that contribute to the risk to commit medication administration errors are insufficient knowledge of medications, check patient ID, abbreviations, medication reconciliation, calculation errors, and store and discard medication properly, and inaccurate documentation and being fatigue. It is the nurse’s responsibility to be thoroughly informed regarding all drug medications they are administrating and follow the facilities policies.
Sometimes these factors often interfere with the nurses’ ability to provide the best care. This is a great example of when new health care policies and procedures should be implemented to make sure high quality care and patient safety is implemented. It is important to ensure the health care workers physical and mental health. The human mind has limitations and when a person is exhausted the results can be flawed memory and decreased concentration levels. The knowledge of the causes and preventative measures of medication administration errors has important implications for within the current state of health care. Patient safety is always the first priority in health care and it’s the nurse’s responsibility to adhere to current policies and measures that protect the patient and their families. It is also important to be the patient’s advocate and take an active role in policy changes that will improve patient safety and decrease and eliminate errors.
Recognizing risk factors that lead to medication errors and researching resolutions to eliminate those risks is the nurse’s duty in potentiating change and caring for patients safely (Potter, Perry, and Stockert 2017). Practicing effective communication and teamwork skills also plays a large role in the promotion of patient safety and the entire health care team should relentlessly strive for continuous self-improvement. It is important that the medical professionals, government and patients works together to eliminate the medication and medical errors. This is an ongoing battle we must continue to work on and win and we cannot let patient safety be compromised any longer.
Being able to utilize safety measures by use of critical thinking and leadership skills will influence our surroundings. As Johann von Goethe says, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”