Healthcare is a critical sector in the world that contributes a significant portion to the economy. The sector plays a crucial role in providing access to medical assistance and ensuring a safe and healthier world. Meanwhile, the sector is also exposed to medication errors that impact its performance to deliver the right medical care. The mistakes are avoidable, but the unfortunate part is that most of them are inevitable and always certain to happen. These errors can occur in healthcare settings, from hospitals, hospice care to clinics and surgery centers.
Especially, the nurses are more prone to make medications mistakes that can significantly impact the patient’s life. With the high demands of nursing professionals and meeting the demands for new technology, these risk figures are growing at an alarming rate. There is a dire need for measures to prevent these medication errors. Studies have also revealed that medication errors lead to many deaths each year. With the COVID-19 wreaking havoc with the rising number of infections, medical errors can cause life-threatening situations for patients. Even in the mental health department, these mistakes create problems for mentally ill patients.
Moreover, professionals advise nurses to acquire the essential safety skills to reduce medication errors and mitigate their effects. Nurses can join a professional degree program to expand their role in practice and safety. However, nurse professionals never consider pursuing education because of the ongoing priorities of the job. Fortunately, online education is encouraging aspirants to advance their nursing careers with online programs. For instance, aspirants can opt for advanced programs like post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online to upgrade their skills from the comfort of their homes.
To minimize these inevitable mistakes and protect patients’ lives, nurses must adopt the latest practices and strategies to create a secure healthcare environment. With that said, let’s discuss four ways nurses can prevent medications errors.
- Ensure Five Rights of Medication Administration
One of the top practices to prevent medications errors is to employ the five rights of medication administration. Since the nurses engage directly with the patients from recording data to administering the medication, nurse professionals must comply with these five rights. These rules include:
- right patient
- right medications
- right dose
- right route
- right time
The rules are self-explanatory that revolves around the patient identification medication details and frequency.
Failing to meet these five rights can increase the risk of medications errors. Today authorities also measure the nurse’s performance based on their compliance to the five rights. Moreover, some other factors also influence the nurse’s performance to meet these five rights of medication administration. These may include workplace stress, depression, or lack of motivation. For that, healthcare authorities must resolve the underlying challenges of work burnouts among the nurse’s professionals to reduce medication errors and enhance the quality of care.
- Double Checks
Now governmental and healthcare authorities are taking the stand to reduce the rising number of medical malpractice caused by nurses. For that, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices is encouraging the nurse groups to perform independent double checks for high-risk medications. Nurses can combine this effort with the five rights for medication administration to identify the patients receiving high-alert medical care.
For instance, nurses can classify the patients with two key identifiers. Next, they can check the medication label and the order from the physician for the doses. If they are unsure of the ordered route, they can communicate with the doctor to confirm the medication order. This practice can help nurses steer clear from the risk of medical errors and increase patient outcomes.
- Adequate Communication
Another crucial step to minimize medication errors is communication. Communication is always pivotal in the healthcare sector. As a professional nurse, you will be communicating with the patients for their health, experience, and plan with the team. It may include both verbal and written communication to ensure the accuracy and safety of the medical treatment in the healthcare institution. For that, nurses must be active listeners to understand each aspect of the patient’s life and respond to them.
Professionals advise making eye contact while communicating to assure them they are in safe hands. Especially, nurses must address the patient’s health details to their families. This communication will help demonstrate your skills and safety of the practice in a complex setting like healthcare. Any misheard or miscommunicated information can put the patient’s life on the brink. Nurses should double-check each written or verbal communication to ensure safety and prevent errors.
- Evidence-Based Practice
Apart from the challenges of nursing shortages and ongoing pandemics, medication errors stand top on the list. However, that does not mean that authorities have not set guidelines and rules for the high-risk practice in the hospitals. Now authorities promote nurses to use evidence-based practice to provide medical services to the patients. Evidence-based practice is the information that includes the latest and highest-quality medical research that ensures better health outcomes. Above all, it minimizes the risk of medication errors that are common among the nursing groups.
Numerous factors contribute to the rising number of medication errors in the healthcare sector. But to ensure medical safety and efficacy, incorporating some techniques can assist in completing the functions in a safe environment. Along with these techniques, quality education can prepare the nursing professionals to know the duties and actions needed during the high-risk practice.