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The Eighth Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. is...

The eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. is medication error.

Nursing personnel are the front-line staff most often responsible for administering medications to patients. Any factor that decreases the effective functioning of nursing staff will impact how safely nurses can perform their duties. The nursing shortage leads the blame and is not likely to end anytime in the near future.

http://brainblogger.com/2008/07/20/the-eighth-leading-cause-of-death-in-the-us-is/

BradleyRN

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health.

Any factor that decreases the effective functioning

It makes you wonder who the criminals are that invented "medication aides", and why they and anyone responsible for such a Frankenstein of an idea are not behind bars for putting the lives of the elderly at a greater and needless risk just to generate more profit. :down:

Unfortunately I can't seem to load the page the article is on.

It makes you wonder who the criminals are that invented "medication aides", and why they and anyone responsible for such a Frankenstein of an idea are not behind bars for putting the lives of the elderly at a greater and needless risk just to generate more profit. :down:

I was wondering how fast it would take a nurse to blame medication aides.

Especially since the lion's share of errors are made by um... nurses.

StNeotser, something must have happened because I just accessed it about 1/2 hour ago. I'm sure it's temporary. I'll keep an eye on it and will post when it's up again.

BradleyRN

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health.

I was wondering how fast it would take a nurse to blame medication aides.

Especially since the lion's share of errors are made by um... nurses.

I wasnt blaming medication aides at all for this statistic, and thanks for helping clarify my point. When the "lions share" of errors are made by actual nurses, resulting in being the 8th leading cause of death, then how stupid is it to let completely uneducated people perform the same tasks? Of course they are not allowed to give meds to the general population, just the defenseless elderly. Hmmm.....wonder why that is? (rhetorical)

Medication aides are abominable, and those who take these jobs to get out of being the CNA's that they really are, are selfish contributors to this travesty.:down:

I wasnt blaming medication aides at all for this statistic, and thanks for helping clarify my point. When the "lions share" of errors are made by actual nurses, resulting in being the 8th leading cause of death, then how stupid is it to let completely uneducated people perform the same tasks? Of course they are not allowed to give meds to the general population, just the defenseless elderly. Hmmm.....wonder why that is? (rhetorical)

Medication aides are abominable, and those who take these jobs to get out of being the CNA's that they really are, are selfish contributors to this travesty.:down:

What's abominable is a profession causing the 8th most deaths arguing about it at all...

Ya might want to remove the mite from your own eye.

Medication aides have documented less errors. Obviously education isn't necessary to pass meds or nurses wouldn't be screwing it up...

;)

mama_d, BSN, RN

Specializes in tele, oncology.

Unless the NCHS includes med errors under "accidents" when it is tabulating statistics, med errors aren't even in the top 15 causes of death from 1999-2005. Anyone have any idea if med errors are listed separately or included with "accidents"? I tried wading through some of the material but couldn't find the answer with a cursory search.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/FASTATS/lcod.htm

Granted, med errors do contribute to poor patient outcomes, and most of us have been guilty of them at least once. Not arguing here that we need to do our best to avoid them. But I hate it when articles such as this get people all riled up and then you can't even find the primary source that they used, or when you do it's outdated material. Note that she cites another article, not a primary data source. At the very least that shows poor investigative reporting in a quest for sensationalism, IMO.

Thanks Anxious, got it now.

I do wonder about this quote;

* Errors occur around 1 in 5 times that medication is administered.

You see, I pass on average 10 pills per patient in an hour or under for around 15 patients, then add a couple of IV meds into that. I think I must make a technical medication error almost every time I work as if anything happens to disrupt this routine, some of those pills are being passed beyond the time given to administer the medication. By disruption to the routine I mean that someone needs additional nursing intervention due to sickness or change of condition during the med pass. These errors I am making are not life threatening if an 0800 caltrate pill is given at 0905 then no harm is done to the patient but it is still technically a med error. As is when we get a new admit and pharmacy promises to deliver new admit meds within 4 hours but doesn't.

However, I'm not trying to detract from a very serious problem that I believe nursing must own and owe up to.

BradleyRN

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health.

Ya might want to remove the mite from your own eye.

Medication aides have documented less errors. Obviously education isn't necessary to pass meds or nurses wouldn't be screwing it up...

;)

Remove the mite? (never heard that)

Medication aides have documented less errors because they probably dont even realize when they make one.

Once you are an RN, i doubt you will continue to defend such a practice, since that is a nurse's skill they are stealing, and thus a job as well.:)

Remove the mite? (never heard that)

Medication aides have documented less errors because they probably dont even realize when they make one.

Once you are an RN, i doubt you will continue to defend such a practice, since that is a nurse's skill they are stealing, and thus a job as well.:)

Actually my goal is to go advanced practice and since the doctors whined about APNs and the nurses got all moany and ***** about it I'll avoid the hypocrite road by not moaning about med aides. :D

BradleyRN

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health.

I'm not trying to detract from a very serious problem that I believe nursing must own and owe up to.

I dont believe nursing should own this problem, but rather the businessmen who control nursing.

Of course, nurses take the assignments they cant handle, so it is on them too, except that when

they try complaining, they complain their way right out of a job. Still though, id have to give

them 40% of the blame for their inability to stand up for themselves and their patients.:)

BradleyRN

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health.

Actually my goal is to go advanced practice and since the doctors whined about APNs and the nurses got all moany and ***** about it I'll avoid the hypocrite road by not moaning about med aides. :D

Doctors can whine about APN's, just not the use of the term "doctor" by someone with a doctorate. They have a legitimate fear that APN's will displace their jobs, just as nurses do about med aides. But let's not pretend that you are avoiding moaning about med aides to not be a hypocrite, when in fact it is because you are a med aide. You defend their position, and i defend the just position. There is no hypocrisy going on. :)

Indeed, I'm a med aide that hasn't made a med error. ;)

However, the points you bring up about med aides tend to be overinflated and plain wrong.

Med Aides aren't a new thing. They've been around at least a decad (in my direct experience) and maybe longer.

There has been no increase in errors due to them and no decline in care due to them.

So... what's your argument other than 'They are taking my job.'

That would be like me whining about the Reserves takign my job when I was Active Duty. Nonsense.

Obviously the med errors are so high though that we might as well have med aides do it. It can't get any worse than it already is now can it? ;)

arelle68

Specializes in Mental and Behavioral Health.

This is scary to me because I just graduated, and got my first job. It is at an LTC, and I am responsible for the care and the meds of 23 rsdts. These people have like 10 meds each. I have been told that as I pass meds, I am also responsible for answering the phone, supervising CNAs, assessing all my rsdts, and running the unit. They say that I'm the charge nurse. I thought they had to be kidding. They weren't.

Regarding medication aides, GET ME ONE! I could even use two.

Still though, id have to give

them 40% of the blame for their inability to stand up for themselves and their patients.:)

This is because of nursings inability to stand up and be counted with one voice. I said in another post I had always been anti-union before starting a nursing job. I believe we need some professional organization that stands up for us, so that in turn we can have safe levels of staffing that does not lead to bad care and fatal medication errors. What we want to achieve and Friedman economics do not go hand in hand. I am not a socialist or a communist or anything else but the current business model of most hospitals, for profit and non profit is not right for adequate health care.

However, as individuals we will never get anywhere if we keep walking off the job individually and try to find something "better".

Cindy-san

Specializes in CCU & CTICU.

But, how trained are med aides? Do they know if they're giving something that's inappropriate? Do they check vitals right beforehand?

RNs don't just pass meds, they make sure the dose, indication, pt status, etc, are all correct. That's why I never understood how hosps could get away with having nurses that just pass meds. I think you need to actually be caring for the pt to do that. How do they know what happened in the last hour or so otherwise?

But, how trained are med aides? Do they know if they're giving something that's inappropriate? Do they check vitals right beforehand?

RNs don't just pass meds, they make sure the dose, indication, pt status, etc, are all correct. That's why I never understood how hosps could get away with having nurses that just pass meds. I think you need to actually be caring for the pt to do that. How do they know what happened in the last hour or so otherwise?

The inverse to that is how trained are nurses if med errors are the 8th leading cause of death?

I could see nurses questioning them if med aides were making the majority of the errors .

However, they aren't so why aren't nurses questioning themselves?

There are a thousand "I hate med aide' threads here but not a single "Oops, we as nurses are dropping the ball on meds" threads...

lamazeteacher

Specializes in OB, HH, ADMIN, IC, ED, QI.

What's abominable is a profession causing the 8th most deaths arguing about it at all...

Ya might want to remove the mite from your own eye.

Medication aides have documented less errors. Obviously education isn't necessary to pass meds or nurses wouldn't be screwing it up...

;)

Uh, Stanley and Anxious Patient, beware of articles bearing untruths. Even the links given as references for the bogus post, have no reference to nurse error. Indeed, the 8th most frequent cause of death given by the CDC is influenza leading to pneumonia (63,000 deaths yearly, most in elderly or chronically ill folks, I'm willing to bet).

Someone may have it in for med techs (not I, I hadn't heard of them before this post), who probably make less than nurses. I always say "follow the money" for reasons......

OTC and prescription drug mismanagement by patients at home may have been researched (or not), and may contribute their own number of untoward deaths from overdose, interaction with other meds, etc. I'll never forget my 10 year old son's return from a skiing trip with his dad and dad's current girlfriend, with severe vertigo, and complaining of "seeing double" (26 years ago)., He'd caught a cold and must have complained sufficiently, so his dad bought 3 different decongestants and gave them too often. Hmmmmm, I wonder what the stats are on murder committed by ex-wives discovering maltreatment of their child during visitation with dad?

I'm also reminded of the celebrex scandal caused by an anaesthesiologist who reached for the $20,000 lollipop dangled in front of him by the manufacturer, who wanted to market that drug as a useful analgesic for post op pain. That "researcher" made up all the figures he concocted to prove that it was OK to use celebrex for that. He's in jail.

I think the reasons nurses do make errors administering medications to patients, is

1. Not being conditioned during their clinical practise to check the order with the label 3 times and also the patient's ID bracelet: right med, right dose, right route, right patient!

2. Ambiguous labeling on products that need to be diluted, using calculations incorrectly.

3. Being too rushed, distracted and tired.

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