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How many of you have experienced medication errors?

Nurses   (6,545 Views | 18 Replies)
by mihualalei mihualalei (New) New

594 Profile Views; 7 Posts

How many of you have experienced medication errors?is it avoidable? cuz many of my friends saying it is unavoidable.thanks.happy new year!

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2 Articles; 776 Posts; 26,060 Profile Views

While technically it is avoidable, I think 100% of nurses who handle medications have made medication errors. If you had all the time in the world, never had patients needing things in the middle of med pass, and never forgot to do things like double-check the MAR against the doctor's orders, maybe you wouldn't do it. Very often.

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suni has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in med surg.

477 Posts; 12,301 Profile Views

I would like to say it is avoidable and I believe that Emar make it less likely but it happens, you just pray that when it does there is no harm to the patient. Some of it is not clarifying orders and not being able to read the doctor's writing, some of it is the number of distractions when trying to pour meds. The bottom line is you can do your triple check and still make a mistake.

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Flo. has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Developmental Disabilites,.

571 Posts; 8,327 Profile Views

The sheer volume of meds a typical nurse gives in a day makes it unavoidable.

Some nurses may think that they have never made a mistake, chances are they just haven't realized a mistake they made.

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funvirgoRN has 12 years experience and specializes in pediatrics.

16 Posts; 1,963 Profile Views

I believe that medication errors are avoidable. Some things I use to avoid med errors are to take my time and focus only on one thing at a time. When I'm rushing or distracted there's a higher chance of error. Also I make sure to check the meds against the mar. Doing this has prevented a lot of med errors. Pharmacy may not give the correct dose or old dosages of meds may not have been taken out of the cart. Also its good to know or double check the dose. Doctors sometimes order meds that are incorrectly dosed. If you know what the range is for that med it makes those types of errors easier to spot. Another thing I do is always let the pt know what I'm giving them. Sometimes pts may self medicate or we may have incorrect dosages from what they were currently taking at home. Also I've had instances where the pts were informed during rounds that certain meds were to be held but the MD did not notify the nurse or write an order to hold med. By letting the pt know before hand it prevented them from getting a dose they weren't supposed to get.

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Sun0408 has 4 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Trauma Surgical ICU.

1,761 Posts; 36,164 Profile Views

Anytime you give meds outside the allotted time, technically you have made a medication error.. That is a lot of us.. I love E-MAR but even with that; medication errors still happen.. Just the other day, I found 3 meds that were dc'ed but the order was never faxed to pharm so the pt received the meds for 2 days when it should have been stopped.. Remember the rights to medication administration, anything outside those are med errors;however small it is still an error.. I just hope that any errors I may make will not harm my pt.

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PAERRN20 has 3 years experience and specializes in ER.

660 Posts; 7,172 Profile Views

Sure they are avoidable but there as so many things that COULD go wrong, it's amazing that there aren't more med errors than there are now.

You have the doctor ordering the med...what if he orders the wrong med, dose, route, or time? Error! Then there is the nurse who takes the order...what if he/she doesn't hear right, and orders the wrong med/route/time/dose/patient? Error! Then there is pharmacy...what if it doesn't get in the computer right? Or if the wrong med is sent to the floor? Error! Then there is the nurse giving a patient a different med than the doctor ordered at the wrong time via the wrong route because the pharmacy didn't send the right drug! Whew!

That is just one example of what can and dose go wrong!

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219 Posts; 4,821 Profile Views

The sheer volume of meds a typical nurse gives in a day makes it unavoidable.

Some nurses may think that they have never made a mistake, chances are they just haven't realized a mistake they made.

I agree 100% on that. Any nurse that says they haven;t made an error are just not aware. Seriously.

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azhiker96 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PACU.

1 Article; 1,120 Posts; 42,351 Profile Views

Sometimes it almost seems like you're set up. I've seen a med mixed in the pharmacy with the wrong solution, narcotic stocked in the wrong pyxsis location, and wrong IV solution hung ready to be spiked next to existing one.

I've seen poor orders from doctors that were cancelled or changed when the doctor was called.

The key is to know that we are part of system. We need to double and triple check each other because we are all human and people make mistakes. Errors need to be approached with the attitude that this is something that needs to be fixed, not with blame and recriminations. I have made errors and I've caught errors by others. Hopefully I'll never cause harm to a patient.

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ocean waves has 35 years experience.

143 Posts; 2,909 Profile Views

Hello. I agree with the writers who say that even the very best nurses can unintentionally make a medication error. In addition, I agree that in the goal of avoiding errors, it is wise to "double and triple check self and others" at all times. During my many years of nursing work, I can honestly say that consistent, diligent extra checking helped me avoid all but only a rare few medication errors---when I discovered those few errors, I acted as most professional nurses do by immediately admitting the error, notifying the involved doctor, and doing the appropriate interventions to correct the error. Thank goodness none of my patients experienced serious harm from my few unfortunate missteps in administering medications! Best wishes!

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ErinS is a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

347 Posts; 5,406 Profile Views

I have made errors during med pass. I agree that ALL nurses will make a med error at some point. We pray it is only minor, and in the mean time check and check and check again. The biggest cause of medication errors: distractions during med pass. If you could pass meds to each pt individually without any docs, secretaries, CNAs, family members, or other people interrupting you, then maybe we would be error free.

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lilbit12 has 8 years experience.

7 Posts; 501 Profile Views

I wish I could say I have never made a med error but it happens! No matter how much we want to be perfect we all make mistakes. The fact is that it will happen and when it does do not get upset just learn from your mistake. The first med error I made I was working LTC and I had admitted a patient and I was going through his med list with him and his family with his med bottles. I wrote out the list of meds reviewed them with the doc and gave him his morning medications. When I was going through his paper work his med list from the doctors office did not match up with the pill bottles. His BP med was suppose to broke in half the doc decreased it a month ago. I did not check what the family said and what the bottles said with the paper work, I just took their word for it. He was ok, we just monitored his BP and he had no adverse reactions but I definelty learned my lesson from that mistake. That is what you have to do when you make a med error learn from that mistake and put in checks to ensure you do not make that type of error again. Hope this helps.

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