It's hard to overestimate the central role played by nurses in medical care delivery, at virtually every stage of the process.
Nurses are often the first member of the medical team to question a patient about symptoms and concerns. They work closely with electronic health records systems, communicate with doctors, lab technicians, pharmacists and other care providers, and administer medications.
It is that latter involvement that is the focal matter of study in a recent medical report authored by researchers in the United Kingdom, who point to several reasons why nurses commit medication-related errors and need better training to improve their performance in this area.
The singular focus upon nurses seems well placed, given that -- as noted in the report -- "the nurse is the last person in the process to rectify and defend against errors."
Facility administrators looking for the sources of drug-dispensing mistakes can logically start with the frenetic and fast-paced environment that typically marks the standard work day for many nurses. Distractions and interruptions reign supreme, and those can yield adverse effects when nurses are in the process of dispensing meds to patients.
Those interruptions need to be routinely minimized during times when nurses are focused upon medications, notes the report. Medication-related checklists can be helpful to ensure accuracy. The report goes so far as to suggest that dispensing nurses wear clothing that instantly alerts other persons that they are engaged in a drug-delivery activity.
And here's another suggestion from the report: ensure that nurses' math skills are up to par, either through an academic course or ongoing training. The reason, of course, is that medication dispensing can require calculations regarding fractions, drug infusion rates and related assessments. Mistakes can bring dire consequences.
The bottom-line need to better ensure medication delivery seems to be a muting of the cacophonous environment that nurses typically work in -- at least during the moments when they are dispensing drugs. Consultation service from the Maloney laywers is free. Contact us today to get started.