It goes without saying that patient-centered nursing practice is based on the ethical principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence. However, in certain circumstances, patients’ safety may be negatively affected by predominantly unintentional medication administration errors. Cloete (2015) defines them as preventable events “related to medication which results in a failure in the treatment process that leads to, or has the potential to lead to, harm to the patient” (p. 50).
In the present day, medication errors are among the most common causes of harm to patients in the health care industry. According to the research dedicated to the prevention of medication errors conducted by Yousef and Yousef (2017), this type of misconduct in medical settings regularly leads to 6-7% of hospital admissions in the United States.
In addition, a considerable number of medication errors remain unreported. That is why it is highly essential for scholars, lawmakers, and average physicians, medical assistants, and nurse practitioners in particular to understand the reasons for medication errors’ occurrence in order to prevent it in the future.
In general, there are multiple causes of medication administration errors that have a different origin. Cloete (2015) divides all medication risk factors into patient, system, and personal. The category of patient factors relates to the patients’ individual characteristics and attributes and traditionally includes multiple medication use due to various health issues, poor communication caused by language barriers, complicated drug calculation, and the absence of a patient’s interest to his or her treatment (Cloete, 2015).
System factors that may lead to the occurrence of medication administration errors imply poor management, leadership, and communication, the absence of safety culture in a medical organization, and inappropriate working policies (Cloete, 2015). In turn, personal risk factors are connected with the personality of a health care provider, his or her situational awareness, decision-making, cognitive skills, and responses to stress and fatigue. In general, it is nurse practitioners who play a highly essential role both in the occurrence and prevention of errors as they are responsible for the provision of accurate performance and interaction of all professionals.
There are several strategies that may be implemented in medical settings in order to reduce and prevent medication administration errors in the future. First of all, particular attention should be paid to the licensed nurses’ computation skills and the ability to interpret received information for the patient’s correct treatment.
Moreover, registered nurses should have understandable handwriting to prevent miscommunication and medication errors. In addition, comfortable working conditions for health care specialists are immeasurably significant as a substantial number of medication errors occur due to the nurses’ high workloads, fatigue, and stress (Cloete, 2015).
The reevaluation of current conditions with the help of the transformational leadership and the official regulation of schedule for nurses will help them to concentrate on their duties and patients more efficiently. In other words, health care providers who are satisfied with their job have more opportunities to build solid relationships with patients and colleagues on the basis of trust and respect. Moreover, the introduction of the double-check system that implies all activities’ check by another specialist in order to exclude inaccuracy, absent-mindedness, and negligence.
Finally, one of the most efficient strategies related to the prevention of medication errors is the implementation of electronic health records in medical organizations. There are several major advantages of this practice – first, it helps to avoid the risk of errors connected with an absence of proper communication between clinicians. All necessary information related to medication administration of every patient put in a system will be available for specialists involved in treatment. Moreover, an electronic format of data excludes potential misunderstanding that may occur in the case of poor handwriting of a prescriber.
In general, evidence-based practice implies the combination of person-centered care on the basis of the patient’s individual and cultural values with clinical expertise and valid research evidence. This evidence is collected, evaluated, and integrated to provide accurate and time-sensitive decision-making. It goes without saying that evidence-based knowledge is immeasurably essential for nursing practice as they contribute to the development of efficient health care delivery.
Moreover, evidence-based practice is connected with the best nursing practices to provide patients’ safety. That is why, as a health care specialist, I should learn how to combine appropriate evidence with clinical research and patients’ needs, values, rights, and preferences within a framework of my practice.
As evidence traditionally refers to findings from data collection on the basis of experiments and observation, I currently see my role in the evidence-based practice as a health care specialist who delivers health care with simultaneous monitoring of patients’ health. It is essential for me to develop cognitive skills and concentration to pay attention to even insignificant changes in their health condition.
In addition, an appropriate level of education and professional knowledge is essential for correct analysis of received evidence. It goes without saying that the cultural, religious, and individual peculiarities of patients should be considered as well in order to interpret the evidence correctly for appropriate conclusions.
Cloete, L. (2015). Reducing medication errors in nursing practice. Nursing Standard, 29(20), 50-59. Web.
Yousef, N., & Yousef, F. (2017). Using total quality management approach to improve patient safety by preventing medication error incidences. BMC Health Services Research, 17(621), 1-16. Web.