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With your full attention and presence of mind, you can reduce the likelihood of making mistakes. Never stop asking for the patient’s name for each medication you will give even if you do it several times in a shift.
For patients with problems stating their names, you can just look at their name band to check if you are dealing with the right patient. To ensure that you are dealing with the right drug, it will be best to use both the generic and brand name of the medication ordered. Whenever you are not sure with the drug you will administer, don’t hesitate to double check with your drug handbook.
If you have time, develop the habit of looking up a drug’s information before giving it to the patient. Sometimes, ordered medications are lost in communication among doctors, nurses and pharmacists. When receiving orders through phone, write down the instructions and repeat everything before hanging up. High alert medication are so potent that a slight variation in dosage given will directly affect the patient’s vital signs. High alert drugs include heparin, dopamine, dobutamine, nicardipine, digoxin and many more. To avoid unnecessary adverse drug reactions, always ask the patient about any known drug allergies before giving new medications. Sometimes, healthcare workers also forget to record the known drug allergies of the patient in their chart. Sometimes, nurses are more sensitive in overseeing drug incompatibilities in the patient’s treatment regimen.
It is not advisable to put drugs into another container but if you must do it, label the new container properly. If you must give the drug through a nasogastric tube, clarify with the doctor first as you should not crush an extended-release tablet.
This is practical whenever you can’t read a poorly written medication order or if you think there has been a typographical error in the new order. For example, a nurse is having trouble reading the newly ordered medication for a 14 year old boy with seizures. If one of your patients receives eardrops and eye drops simultaneously, you can create a simple marker so you don’t confuse using them interchangeably. To avoid medication errors, always keep the patient’s safety in mind while giving their medications.
As simple as this sounds a staggering number of medication errors are caused by administration to the wrong patient. No matter how well you know your patient make sure you get into the habit of applying a system to verify their identity. Whenever you are not sure with the drug you will administer, don’t hesitate to double check with your drug formulary or handbook. To avoid unnecessary adverse drug reactions and prevent medication errors always ask the patient about any known drug allergies before giving new medications. Sometimes, nurses are more sensitive in overseeing drug incompatibilities in the patient’s treatment regimen. To prevent medication errors always keep the patient’s safety in mind while giving their medications.


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A simple flaw in the administration of medication can put a patient’s life in danger. You can do this by simply asking the patient’s full name and date of birth to make sure the information given matches your medication card. Some hospitals even use a barcode scanning system where you can just scan the patient’s arm band with a small device to verify their names. There are lots of drugs with similar brand names like clonidine and klonopin, celebrex and cerebryx and many more. Be careful as well with drug packaging as some medicines come in deceptively similar packaging or canisters. A drug handbook is a wealth of important information about different drugs like adverse reactions, drug incompatibilities, precautions and many more.
Over time, you will memorize important information for different drugs before administration.
To avoid miscommunication, there are simple things you can do in carrying out doctor’s orders for new medications.
For this reason, it is important to have someone double check your high alert medications before you administer them to your patient. There are some occasions where patients forget to state their drug allergies upon initial history taking. For these reasons, it is essential to verify and ask your patients about their known drug allergies when starting a new medication. If you have a smart phone, try to install a drug index app as it will be handy whenever you want to look up for a drug quickly. If you think a newly ordered medication will do more harm to the patient than its intended therapeutic effect, clarify it with the doctor. Relating the patient’s case in carrying out new medication orders is helpful in making clarifications. The written order reads like “prednisone” but considering the case of the patient, the nurse decided to clarify with the doctor if the patient really needs prednisone as part of his maintenance drugs at home.
Considering the patient’s case in carrying out new medication orders saved him from unnecessary adverse drug reactions.


Applying a small colored sticker on one side of the container is helpful especially if you have lots of medications to administer in other patients. If you are just new in practicing the nursing profession, asking guidance from your senior nurses is also helpful in preventing medication errors. She is working as a staff nurse in the pediatric ward of a private city hospital for more than two years. In both the United States and the United Kingdom, it has been cited as the third highest cause of death in hospitals. Correctly identifying the correct patient is one of the most important factors in preventing errors. High alert medication are so potent that a slight variation in dosage given will directly affect the patient’s vital signs. There are lots of drugs with similar brand names like clonidine and klonopin, celebrex and cerebryx, primidone and prednisone and many more. Be careful as well with drug packaging as some medicines come in deceptively similar packaging or canisters.
A drug handbook is a wealth of important information about different drugs like adverse reactions, drug incompatibilities, precautions and many more.
To avoid miscommunication, there are simple things you can do in carrying out doctor’s orders for new medications. If you think a newly prescribed medication will do more harm to the patient than its intended therapeutic effect, clarify it with the doctor. Hospitals and other health care organizations work to reduce medication errors by using technology, improving processes, zeroing in on errors .
Fortunately, you only need one trait to reduce the risk of medication errors at work – attentiveness. It is also more convenient if you will peel the old label from the previous canister and stick it to the new canister.
Be careful in crushing or cutting them up as these drugs will produce quick potent effects when taken without the extended-release coating. This is an easy technique in simplifying safety measures in giving medications to your patients.
Seasoned nurses know more techniques in reducing the risks of such mistakes so ask for their guidance and advice as you start working in your unit.
The majority of medication errors happen when nurses think they know their patients and their prescribed medications so well that they don’t need to worry about verification. If you have time, develop the habit of looking up a drug’s information before giving it to the patient. With your full attention and presence of mind, you can reduce the likelihood of making mistakes.
Over time, you will memorise important information for different drugs before administration.
A 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics says preventable medication errors harm .



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