Nurses play a major role in drug administration and patient safety which make it necessary for them to prevent medication errors and adverse events in hospital settings. In this paper, we shall discuss the responsibility of the nurses in the prevention of these errors but before that let us briefly discuss the factors responsible for the occurrence of these errors.According to a research, medication errors are responsible for 10% to18% of hospital injuries and 44,000 to 98,000 people die annually in the United States due to these errors. Some of the common medication errors identified are lack of attention; lack of fiduciary concern; improper judgment; lack of involvement on the patient’s behalf; lack of prevention; omitted or mistaken MD/healthcare provider’s orders; and documentation errors. The responsibility and answerability to direct medication in a secure manner in its accurate dose using the accurate route rests totally in the hands of the registered nurses who are administrating the medication (Benner, Sheets, Uris, Malloch, Schwed, & Jamison, 2002, p. It is also their moral and legal duty to report any incidence of medication error. However, it has been observed the nursing staff shows reluctance in reporting the medication error due to numerous reasons, some of them being the fear of mortification from their managers and their contemporaries when reporting medication errors, apprehension of punitive action, not being able to report incognito, restraint on time and sometimes considering it irrelevant to report the errors due to no negative outcomes. However, lawfully nurses are obligated to report any case of medication error since it affects the health of the patients and they may have to face legal ramifications if found guilty. Although the avoidance of errors and adverse events necessitates the intervention of the whole health care staff and management; nurses can play a major role in preventing medication errors (Brady, Malone, & Fleming, 2009, p.The Joint Commission (TJC) has appraised 354 medication errors reported from certified organizations since 2004. It has recognized some of the core causes behind medication errors on the basis of this appraisal: Insufficient orientation, training, and education; communication failures; lack of available information; and failure to ascertain safe
Benner, P., Sheets, V., Uris, P., Malloch, K., Schwed, K., & Jamison, D. (2002, Oct.). Individual, Practice, and System Causes of Errors in Nursing: A Taxonomy. JONA, 32(10), 509-523.
Brady, A.-M., Malone, A.-M., & Fleming, S. (2009). A literature review of the individual and systems factors that contribute to medication errors in nursing practice. Journal of Nursing Management, 17, 679–697.
Preventing Medication Errors (n.d). Pearson Education. Retrieved from http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_adams_pharmacology_2/63/16220/4152388.cw/index.html
The Joint Commission (2003, Feb.). Preventing Medication Errors [PDF document]. Joint Commission Perspectives on Patient Safety, 3(2). Oakbrook Terrace, IL: Joint Commission Resources.
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