Interrupting a Nurse Makes Medication Errors More Likely

  1. "MONDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Distracting an airline pilot during taxi, takeoff or landing could lead to a critical error. Apparently the same is true of nurses who prepare and administer medication to hospital patients.
    A new study shows that interrupting nurses while they're tending to patients' medication needs increases the chances of error. As the number of distractions increases, so do the number of errors and the risk to patient safety."

    Full story at: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyl...ay/638474.html

    Study at: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Hospital...italists/19774
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   caroladybelle
    They needed a "study" to figure this out?

    And could someone please notify every HR department in every hospital, that forces med carts/administration out in the halls "so that the nurse is approachable", forces to carry phones and answer within 2 rings no matter what we may be doing, and that push "pt satisfaction" and fetching every that they desire for their comfort (those precious Press Gainey scores) instead of focusing on things that make the pt safe and healthy.
  4. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Another case of a 'DUH!' report. Why did someone spend money on a study like this? All they had to do was ask any nurse (not during the med pass, of course!) and they would have learned the same thing. Back when I worked the floor, I made a lovely sign for my med cart which read "I am passing medications. Please DO NOT disturb me unless it's an emergency". I was told by management that it made me less approachable. Good! Approach me after I'm done with the pass....not during.
  5. by   XB9S
    Our managment have issued us with bright coloured tabbards with "do not disturb" written on for drugs rounds
  6. by   Chico David RN
    Quote from sharrie
    Our managment have issued us with bright coloured tabbards with "do not disturb" written on for drugs rounds
    This seems to be an idea that is catching on. it's being trialed on our oncology floor - the nurse puts on a sash when passing meds that means that - in theory at least - they are not to be interrupted. This seems on its face like a sensible plan, but depends on a culture that genuinely respects it. And what to do about those phones they make nurses carry now, I don't know.
  7. by   indigo girl
    Who does not know this? Please!!
  8. by   HealingBalm
    Quote from indigo girl
    Who does not know this? Please!!
    How about aggressive UAPs that insist that you come "now" to reposition a pt? Or routinely leave water bottles and whatever else on the nurses med cart? The change has to come from above with inservices to all staff. The interruptions during med pass could have deadly consequences.
  9. by   StNeotser
    Quote from sharrie
    Our managment have issued us with bright coloured tabbards with "do not disturb" written on for drugs rounds
    Can I ask how that's working out? Do people notice/respect it? There was some talk about this where I work, but it hasn't been put into practice yet.
  10. by   IDoNotGiveOut
    Maybe now they can do one about interrupting hand off report. We have some doctors who expect us to jump and if we say it will be just a minute we're doing report they scoff like we're being lazy or something. Report is an important time for patient safety! I can't tell you how many times I've had to call the unit on the car ride home because I forgot to say something in report after I'd been interrupted 5 times.
  11. by   mamamerlee
    No kidding - interruptions = mistakes? Well, glory be, I just don't believe it!!!

    Ask your management - 'unapproachable' or major med error? Let them choose!

    I guess if no one measured this before it wasn't true.....
  12. by   NSJodi
    Hmm. I'm likely to get interrrupted at least twice on a med pass to one patient (esp. if they are transplant). My phone's going to ring at least once for a tele alarm (I have to leave and check it out per policy) and again for something else. Plus there's the usual med questions, get something else to drink, change position or go to bathroom first before taking some or all the meds. I'd love it if I could pass meds uninterrupted (it ain't going to happen though).
  13. by   XB9S
    Quote from StNeotser
    Can I ask how that's working out? Do people notice/respect it? There was some talk about this where I work, but it hasn't been put into practice yet.


    It works very well most of the time, and I've even seen the patients shush a Doc who interupted. It's just a case of getting everyone used to the change in culture
  14. by   dcarriv
    no kidding, i wonder how much money was spent on that study that could have been spent on pt care. although maybe now the hospital administrators can be shown this and something can be done to reduce interuptions.

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