Nursing and Medication Errors
Nursing is a profession whose main concern is the care for the health of individuals, communities and families. Nurses have a responsibility of ensuring that they prioritize the health of their patients. Nurses work together as a team towards ensuring that they meet the medical needs of their patients. They undergo training to ensure that they are well informed of the actions that they are expected to take with every medical situation. This is because an individual’s health cannot be put at a risk. They have a responsibility to ensure that they do all that they can in order to restore an individual’s health.
Despite the training that nurses undergo in regards to their profession, they may at times be faced with medication errors. This is a worrying trend that has raised concern world wide. This could be attributed to negligence of some nurses or lack of co-ordination with the team members. However, this issue has caused the need for coming with immediate solutions to the problem because of the resulting harm that has been reported over time. It has been noted that the problem is persistent in public hospitals. Despite the fact that the errors have been classified as resulting in minor harm, it is a worrying trend that needs to be dealt with without further delays.
Nurses are people who are entrusted with the role of taking care of people. On a daily basis, millions of people entrust their lives to them for the best care. Therefore, a nurse has to be educated on various issues about the human anatomy, the issuing of drugs to patients, how to nurse patients in a variety of settings. Such may include a mentally ill patient, a convalescent or a new born baby. Nurses have to be gentle and understanding to everyone. This is because a nurse has to be self sacrificing, patient and caring. These are the three most dominant characters expected in a nurse.
A nurse’s job never ends. A nurse is supposed to carry her desirable qualities with her everywhere. All over the world, nursing is one of the most prominent jobs known. However, a nurse cannot work effectively without the right facilities and guidelines. This means that, nurses have to be guided constantly by qualified doctors. In addition to doctors, nurses require up to date books to guide them as well as facilities in order to perform their tasks with accuracy and precision. These facilities have to be provided by the government as well as medical training schools; therefore, the government determines the quality of health services that are available to the public.
Nursing has proved to be a very rewarding career both physically and spiritually. Nurses derive a sense of satisfaction every time they help a needy person. It is also one of the most crucial in the society. A nurse ought to give hope and encouragement to the dying patients and other patients too. Nurses face many hardships in their line of duty. However, irrespective of this, they are still expected to give their best at their jobs. Nurses not only take care of the sick, but also they inspire and give the sick hope. This hope keeps them looking forward to getting better and going back home.
Reasons for Medication Errors
It has been established that nurses bear most of responsibility with regards to the primary care of patients. It is for this reason that they are held responsible for most of the medication errors. In order to deal with this problem of medication errors, it is extremely important to find the causes of the problem. This will provide a clearer and more effective way of coming up with the required solution to the problem. This will also help the individuals responsible for committing the identified errors. As a result, they will be in a position to avoid these errors in the line of their duty.
One of the most common causes of medication errors is ineffective communication among the team members who are in charge of taking care of patients. This means that it is extremely important for nurses and doctors to maintain effective communication in regards to the condition of the patient. This will prevent any misconceptions as to whether the medications have been administered to patients in question. This means that it is extremely crucial for nurses in charge to keep proper records. This ensures that there is ease in the identification of the medication a patient is being administered. Moreover, this becomes useful in the instance that nurses have to change shifts. As a result, the correct medication will be administered irrespective of different nurses attending to one patient.
Another cause of medication errors is the confusion of abbreviations. This implies that a pharmacist may recommend a particular drug to a patient with the intention of restoring health. However, a misconception of the full meaning of the abbreviations given may lead to the occurrence of error in the medication process. This could be attributed to negligence on the part of the nurse in charge. However, it could also be negligence on the part of the pharmacist and as a result; the patient may suffer adverse effects due to the wrongful administration of drugs. Also, if the nurse is not conversant with what the abbreviations stand for, it could lead to the administration of wrong medication to the patient.
Medication errors could also be as a result of haphazardness in the course of writing the prescription of drugs. This is especially stereotypical of doctors and physicians. In the line of their work, most of them tend to have the notion that they have to write the prescription in a scribbled unclear manner. These bad handwritings may be misinterpreted by the pharmacists issuing the drugs. As a result, these pharmacists may end up committing medication errors unintentionally. Eventually, the patient is at the receiving end and he or she may end up suffering adverse effects due to such behavior.
Another cause of medical errors is branding and drug labeling. This implies improper branding such that drugs can hardly be differentiated may result in confusion of the drugs that are meant to be administered. The same case applies to drugs that are labeled wrongly. These drugs could end up confusing the administrators of drugs and, therefore, result in medication errors. Similar packaging for different drugs may also cause confusion in the administration of the drugs. As a result, it is extremely important for administrators to be keen in the course of drug administration.
Medication errors for the patients who carry their drugs home may be attributed to the fact that the pharmacist or nurse who gives the medication to the patient does not explain their use clearly. In addition, the problem could be the patient who does not clearly understand and follow the prescription that the nurse or pharmacist gives. Medication errors could also be attributed to the professional who does not clearly understand the administration of the medicines in question.
Role of the Nurse
Nursing is the job of looking after the ill or injured. Nurses are the back-bone of the healthcare sector because they are involved physically at each level of a patient’s recovery; from simply receiving patients to administering drugs and also assisting in operations. This means that they have a responsibility to ensure that they are accountable for their actions in regards to dealing with the patients. Accountability refers to the ability and willingness to acknowledge responsibility for one’s actions as well as the consequences of the said actions. Nurses are obliged to portray professional accountability to a large number of players including their colleagues, the doctors, the patient, and their employment agency and family members of the patients. Professional accountability is the legal responsibility placed upon persons in the health care sector to act ethically and morally toward their patients. Issues that are relevant to this will include integrity, privacy concerns, selflessness as well as social impartiality.
Therefore, it is extremely crucial to note that nurse must ensure that they do everything in their power to ensure that they act rightfully in their line of duty. This is because they would be held liable for any medication errors that they commit. In addition to this, they should also realize that they have to uphold professional accountability at all times in the course of their duties towards their patients. The moral, ethical and legal balance of responsibility borne by the nurses cannot be taken lightly. The paramount accountability is to the occupation. Every member of any profession is presumed to uphold the standards set by the principal body of that profession and go beyond the basic requirements. These proficient requirements include knowledge, skill, verdict and attitude. They are outlined in the Code of Ethics for nurses.
The role of the nurse in the primary care is of utmost importance towards restoration of health. This implies that acting based on doubtful decision-making is completely detrimental to any nursing profession. This means that a nurse should be able to consult with her colleagues or seniors in regards to the medication and administration of the same to the patients. Failure to act with absolute confidence of doing the right thing could be the causation of numerous deaths that have been attributed to medication errors. A nurse has the responsibility to ensure that they act in the best interest of ensuring recovery of the patient.
How to Avoid Medication Errors
The problem of medication errors needs to be dealt with once and for all in order to avert the adverse effects that it has been causing for the past years. One of the most effective ways of dealing with this problem is the proactive promotion of a culture that upholds safety beginning from the top most rank of organizational leadership. Combining efforts in dealing with this problem with create a strong bond and will also help ion ensuring that all the team members involved in the recovery process are in agreement with the steps that need to be taken. Leading by example from the physicians will be a good start towards ensuring that this problem becomes a thing of the past.
The initial step will require the team members in the medication administration process to accept the fact that they could a contributory factor towards the growth of this problem. This will ensure that they are able to identify their mistakes. For instance, it would be vital for team members to enhance communication in regards to the conditions of the patients that they are attending to at a particular time. This means that there is need for team members to be in constant communication on the best medication that will promote quick recovery of the patient.
It is also important to use standard abbreviations when issuing prescriptions. This will ensure that there is no confusion between the intention of the pharmacist and the nurse or physician in charge. The same case applies to the labeling and branding of drugs. Ensuring that each drug has its own packaging method or branding ensures that the confusion arising is dealt with in a manner that suggests that a patient gets the medicine that he or she is entitle to without any misconceptions.
It is also crucial for physicians to be neat in giving their diagnosis. This implies that their concerns are clearly communicated to the other team members through the use of legible handwriting. It is also crucial to ensure that proper communication is enhanced when explaining to the patient on how the medication is to be administered. This will ensure that there are no errors leading to unforeseen dangers in regards to the medication process. The regulatory bodies in charge of nurse and physicians should also take measures on those that commit medication errors due to negligence. Ensuring that there are consequences could be wise in ensuring that these nurse and physicians conform to the requirements.
Nurses have a legal responsibility to ensure that they do not act in a manner that may put the life of a patient at risk. This implies that they should ensure that they do not commit medication errors that may endanger the lives of the patients. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program has taken the initiative to carry out awareness programs on the need to curd the problem of medication errors. This has been done through the participation in the campaign against the use of error-prone abbreviations. This is because of the realization that nurse and the health sector fraternity have a legal responsibility to guard the interest of the patient.
FDA has also issued guidelines on the regulations in regards to drug administration by professionals. This has helped nurse and physicians in the realization they must uphold these regulation as it is their legal responsibility to do so. This has been expanded through the launching of a page on their website on which they clearly explain medication safety and how to avoid medication errors. The FDA is an example of a program that seeks to eradicate the problem of medication errors.
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From the above analysis, it is evident that each individual has a role to play in upholding good health and quick recovery. This means that the burden of care not only lies in the hands of the specialist, but also on any observing party. This means that it is important to understand the medication that is supposed to be administered. This could help in averting a possible medication error if one notices it on time. However, nurses and physicians must be careful since it is their responsibility to ensure that proper medication id\s administered at all times. Realization of their role in the recovery process could be a motivation towards remaining focused on ensuring that good health is retained at all times.
It is not a legal responsibility but a social call for all the parties involved to remain focused on the correct medication. The nurse has professional responsibility to numerous other people. The community must view nurses as helpers. They must also show a willingness to dole out. This gives not only the individual a positive affinity, but also the nursing vocation. This will not only make the public more amenable to healthcare specialists but will also draw other people into the profession in a bid to improve quality health care provision.