Will I lose my license for reporting this med error?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Join the conversation! Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A


Could I lose my nurse license or be disciplined when I fill out the school diabetes report form which includes mentioning diabetic med errors in which one has occurred (student unharmed, parent notified and documented, incident report filled)? What can I do to protect my license?

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Reporting medication errors is essential to maintaining patient safety and ensuring transparency in healthcare.

Remember, the transparency shown by reporting errors is often viewed positively as it demonstrates a commitment to learning and patient safety.

While I cannot provide legal advice, I can offer some general guidance on reporting medication errors and protecting your nursing license:

  • Follow facility policies. Adhere to your institution's policies and procedures for reporting medication errors. Most healthcare facilities have established protocols for addressing and documenting such incidents.
  • Complete incident reports. Ensure you complete a thorough incident report detailing the circumstances of the medication error. Include information about the actions taken, notification of the parent, and any steps taken to prevent a recurrence.
  • Communicate effectively. Maintain open communication with your supervisor and other relevant parties. Transparency is crucial, and promptly informing the appropriate individuals about the error demonstrates a commitment to patient safety.
  • Seek guidance. If you have concerns or questions about reporting a specific incident, consider seeking guidance from your nursing supervisor, risk management, or legal counsel associated with your employer.
  • Participate in remediation.If the error is related to a specific skill or knowledge gap, proactively seek additional training or education to address the issue. This demonstrates a commitment to professional development and patient safety.
  • Document your actions. Keep detailed records of your response to the incident, including any communication with the parent, documentation in the student's medical record, and your actions to prevent future errors.
  • Maintain personal .
  • Continuous professional development. Stay informed about the latest practices and guidelines in school nursing, especially regarding medication administration. This not only minimizes the risk of errors but also demonstrates your commitment to maintaining high professional standards.

Identify what caused the error. Were you distracted or rushed? Did you skip one of the essential rights of administration? Is the packaging unsafe or unclear? Does your facility have clear policies and procedures for you to follow? Sometimes, a medication error can result from several factors, with the nurse administering the medication at the end of the chain.

Remember, reporting a medication error does not automatically result in disciplinary action. Nursing boards and employers recognize that mistakes can occur despite a nurse's best efforts. The emphasis is often on transparency, accountability, and a commitment to learning from errors to enhance patient safety. If you have specific concerns, seeking legal advice can provide tailored guidance based on your situation and jurisdiction.

Check out the School Nurse Forum for peer support.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth