Study Shows “Major Problem” With Nurses and Medication Errors
When thinking about health care professionals, one’s mind normally jumps right to doctors. But it takes a group of people to run a hospital and that includes nurses. A recent study by a medical journal reveals that medication errors by nurses are a significant health problem.
The 2013 cross-sectional study was conducted in 2009 and a total number of 237 nurses were randomly selected from nurses working in Imam Khomeini Hospital. This study was conducted to evaluate the types and causes of nursing medication errors. The nurses filled out a questionnaire including 10 questions on demographic characteristics and 7 questions about medication errors. The results were not flattering for nursing professionals.
The results showed that medication errors had been made by 64.55% of the nurses. In addition, 31.37% of the participants reported they were on the verge of making medication errors. The most common types of reported errors were wrong dosage and infusion rate. The most common causes were using abbreviations instead of full names of drugs and similar names of drugs. Therefore, the most important cause of medication errors was lack of pharmacological knowledge.
The study showed there were no statistically significant relationships between medication errors and years of working experience, age, and working shifts. However, a significant relationship was found between errors in intravenous injections and gender. Likewise, errors in oral administration were significantly related with the number of patients the nurse was responsible for at one time. The study concluded that medication errors are a major problem in nursing. Since most cases of medication errors are not reported by nurses, nursing managers must demonstrate positive responses to nurses who report medication errors in order to improve patient safety.