Medication administration errors: Understanding the issues

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2006, 23 (3), pp. 33 - 41
Issue Date:
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Objective: This paper surveys current literature related to medication administration errors, the role of nurses in such errors, and current initiatives that are underway within New Zealand to address this aspect of patient safety. Setting: The literature review focused on research that primarily addresses the issues related to medications that arise in tertiary care facilities. Primary argument: Medication administration errors are reported to occur in one in five medication dosages. Such events have long been scrutinised, with the primary focus being the practice of nurses and their role in medication error. Analysis of such events frequently identifies the nurse as the deliverer of unsafe practice. However, over the past few years a shift in how medication errors are understood has led to the identification of systems-related issues that contribute to medication errors. Conclusion: Initiatives such as the 'Quality and Safe Use of Medicines' raise the opportunity to address some of the safety related issues with a view to enhancing patient safety. A call for nurses to pre-emptively drive and contribute to these initiatives, along with the development of nursing led research, is offered.
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