How to Prevent Medication Errors: Effective Tips for Nurses

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How  to  Prevent  Medication  Errors:  Effective  Tips  for  Nurses

Nurses are part of the patient care team and have a responsibility in preventing medication errors. A flaw in medication can put the life of a patient in grave danger. Nursing profession entails preventing medication errors, and these tips help nurses to achieve prevention.

1.Create proper medication labels

It is not safe to put drugs into a different container other than the original package. You must properly label the new container well if you must put medicine in it. Ensure that you indicate the dosage, expiry date, generic and brand name of the dosage. The new medication label should be in narrow and straightforward font that everyone can read. It is more convenient if you can peel an old label from the previous canister containing the drugs and stick it to the new one.

2.Inquire about the allergy status of patients

Some patients have allergies to particular drugs, and it is essential to make a habit of asking before dispensing. Nurses can prevent unnecessary drug reactions by finding out from patients if they have known drug allergies before administering new medications. There are occasions where patients forget about their drug allergies during the initial history taking. It is important to ask them another time soon after noticing early symptoms of adverse reaction Healthcare workers may also forget to record known drug allergies of a patient in a chart. It makes it essential to rectify such oversight by verifying and asking patients about drug allergies before starting new medications without assuming that other medical professionals asked the question.

3.Check with a drug handbook

It is sometimes not clear about the appropriate drug to administer for a particular illness. In such an instance a nurse should double check with a drug handbook to determine the correct medicine. A drug handbook has plenty of valuable information about different drugs including their incompatibilities, adverse reactions and precautions. Develop the habit of checking drug information before giving it to patients when you have time to read. Frequent reading allows memorizing of relevant information on different types of medicine which is essential when administering.

4.Maintain clear communication

Information on medication can be lost during communication between nurses, pharmacists, and doctors. It is essential to take precautions that prevent miscommunication when carrying out orders for new medication. One of the precautions is to write the instructions when receiving orders on the phone and repeat everything to confirm. Legibly write the names of medicine and avoid improper abbreviations.

5.Clarify new medication orders in the case of doubt

It is not wrong to double check information about medicine from colleagues. It is even necessary to clarify with a doctor if there is a reason to think that newly ordered medication might do more harm to patients that the intended therapeutic effect.

6.Crush and cut up pills carefully

Some tablets usually hypoglycemic and antihypertensive drugs contain extended release coatings. Nurses should be extremely careful in crushing or cutting such drugs because they produce potent effects fast when a patient takes them without an extended release coating.Nurses should first get clarification from a doctor about crushing medicine if it is compelling to give it through a nasogastric tube. The extended-release tablet is not for crushing.

7.Take extra precautions with eye drops and eardrops

Some patients need eardrops, and eye drops at the same time creating a risk to confuse the two. Sticking a simple marker to each can help to prevent confusion of using them interchangeably. Apply a colored sticker to one side of a container indicating if it an eye or ear drop and its generic name. The label should also have the name of a patient if a nurse has a lot of medications to administer to different patients. This is a simple technique that takes a short time to complete but creates safety measures when giving medications to patients.

Nurses should always have the safety of their patients in mind while administering medications to prevent errors. Nurses who are new to the profession should seek guidance about anything that they doubt from their seniors. Seasoned nurses have more techniques on how to prevent medication errors.

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Nurses spend a lot of time with their patients as it is part of their healthcare system. It is part of their job as they get lots of opportunities in observing and monitoring patients to see how they are faring and spot problems early. Understanding how to asses a patient’s wellbeing i.e. checking his or her pressure and temperature is part of her daily routine. Undertaking this career often leaves nurses with lots of questions. Many are not always content with their selves as it is a process which requires deep preparations and the right attitude for the job. Nurses are in demand for their services in many healthcare centers. It is also evident because many schools require admission letters of purpose before joining. Nursing skills are vital in preparing yourself for a future of serving and caring for others by learning and acquiring upon the skills and characteristics needed to succeed on the job. Many clinical skills are important that will help you achieve greater strides in your career.

1. Good communication skills

Nurses are always on the frontline of care. Many will have to pass critical information that is coming from a physician to a patient. He or she must create an open dialogue with patients and their families so they fully comprehend medication, diagnosis or any other medical concerns that may be in need. Clear concise information amongst fellow colleagues is key as it involves sharing of responsibilities and caring for your patients. Many nurses find themselves sharing information with critically ill patients or their doctors. Strong communication is critical for achieving this.

2. Possess critical thinking skills

For one to be admitted to the nursing field, critical skills are vital to employing in your everyday life situations. Crucial decisions need to be met and solved on the spot as it always a matter of life and death. Showing confidence and quickly mitigating the issue is necessary to the nursing profession field.

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Nurses often meet surprises in their daily operations. Emergency situations are constant in their day to day operations. Many nurses should be able to juggle the strenuous schedules that they have. Showing the capability to adapt to the evolving schedules is imperative to them succeeding. Apart from acquiring skills, nursing must constantly attend remedial classes or go back to books to improve their nursing skills. as the world continues to evolve so is the emergence of new medications and diseases that should have them prepared for the rest of their careers.

There are multiple sources for improving nursing skills. resources help improve a nurse’s competency in the profession and provides an overview of procedures or the desired outcomes that need communication with the patient’s family. Nurses can also improve their skillsets by acquiring additional resources that include resources covering a wide range of topics that relate to their communication skills, critical thinking skills and about drug information.

Enhancement of your clinical skills also includes accessing drug information and also knowing those that contain precautions, side effects before administering them to patients. Another way of enhancing your skillset is by continuing to work on education modules that will help expand their knowledge capacity and thinning areas. Having a broad scope of knowledge is beneficial to one’s career. Many diseases are emerging in this fast-paced moving healthcare environment. One can increase their skills with additional resources that includes going through research information’s found in clinical libraries and textbooks covering a wide range of topics. Nurses can greatly improve their skills through resources which focus on many areas of clinical nursing that include patient care, technical, nursing, communication, and critical thinking skills as stated above.

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