Interrupting a Nurse Makes Medication Errors More Likely

  1. 2
    "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:

    Study at:
    Teresag_CNS and wooh like this.

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  2. 39 Comments...

  3. 41
    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.
    dawngloves, Fins Up!, southernbeegirl, and 38 others like this.
  4. 15
    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. 9
    Our managment have issued us with bright coloured tabbards with "do not disturb" written on for drugs rounds
  6. 2
    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.
    Angie O'Plasty, RN and wooh like this.
  7. 1
    Who does not know this? Please!!
    wooh likes this.
  8. 1
    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.
    Angie O'Plasty, RN likes this.
  9. 1
    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.
    wooh likes this.
  10. 2
    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.
    SandraCVRN and Heogog53 like this.
  11. 3
    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.....
    Heogog53, wooh, and SuesquatchRN like this.

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