Skip to content

Preventing Medication Errors

Medication errors, “near misses” and accidental omission of a medication during administration are some of the things that are seen in nursing negligence, wrongful death and medical malpractice cases involving medication errors. Nurses receive medication orders from physicians or other practitioners, transcribe orders, process, check and administer them to their patients. Nurses have a process and safety precautions that they take when administering medications, and although a medication error can occur at any step of the process from physician to pharmacy to patients; The Journal American Nurse Today (ANA) noted an article written by Pamela Anderson, ANP – Medication Errors: Best Practices, “[a]dministration errors account for 26-32% of total medication errors”.

Nurses have standards and processes to uphold when administering medications to patients and many of those steps could be missed leading to patient harm or even death.  Nursing standards of care may be breeched when a nurse fails to follow safety measures such as the five rights to medication administration or even when they fail to use their knowledge and assessment skills and not advocating for patient safety when a medication is being administered.

The five rights to medication are checks done prior to administration and include:

  • The right medication
  • The right dose
  • The right time
  • The right route
  • The right patient

Certain steps and standardization, storage, packaging/labelling and computer safety systems can all be used to improve error prevention.  When an error is made by a nurse “consequences may include disciplinary action, job dismissal, mental anguish, and possible civil or criminal charges” (ANA).

To read the entire article on American Nurse Today click here