Errors of Treating Patients in Medical Institutions

Literature Review Paper

Medication error remains one of the leading concerns affecting patients in different healthcare facilities (Anderson & Townsend, 2015). This problem can threaten the life of a client in a medical environment. A study by Hayes, Jackson, Davidson, and Power (2015) indicated that medication errors can make it impossible for patients to lead quality lives. Medication errors can affect individuals who are receiving treatment or have just undergone a medical surgery. A report presented by Anderson and Townsend (2015) indicated that “medication errors lead to more than 7,000 deaths annually in the United States” (p. 18). The authors also indicate that each “error costs an estimated $2,000 to $8,750” (p. 18).

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The purpose of this paper is to summarize and search the evidence for medication errors in health practice. The essay goes further to identify specific sources and synthesize the gathered evidence. The identified sources also offer powerful ideas that can be used to deal with the problem of medication errors. The discussion is guided by this PICOT question: Can the use of training strategies (I) be more effective than other methods (C) towards helping nurses and medical practitioners deal with medication errors (O) in patients (P) within their time of stay in hospitals (T)?

Methodology for Finding Research Sources

A powerful approach was used to get the right sources for the study. To begin with, several keywords such as medication error, multidisciplinary teams, nursing care, dose calculation, and lifelong learning were used to search for the best sources (Anderson & Townsend, 2015). Several websites such as JUSTOR, ScienceDirect, PubMed, and ProQuest were identified to get quality articles for the study. The selected articles were obtained from some of the leading nursing journals such as the International Journal of Nursing. The articles identified for the study were published within the past five years. This approach was considered in order to come up with quality information.

Background Information

In the recent past, experts have been focusing on powerful initiatives that have the potential to reduce medication errors and improve the outcomes of the targeted patients. When such errors are minimized, it becomes easier for more clients to achieve their health goals. Karthikeyan, Balasubramanian, Khaleel, Sahl, and Rashifa (2015) argue that medication error has remained a critical concern throughout the healthcare delivery process. Such errors have been occurring when dispensing, prescribing, or administering drugs to a patient. Some of the major causes of medication errors include ambiguities in brand names, improper communication, inadequate guidance, and poor techniques throughout the drug prescription process (Frith, Anderson, Tseng, & Fong, 2012). Within the past decade, experts in the healthcare sector have been focusing on powerful and evidence-based strategies in an attempt to deal with medication errors.

Relevant Knowledge

Hayes et al. (2015) support the power of training because it equips NPs with adequate healthcare competencies. The suggested training should focus on appropriate skills that can guide medical practitioners throughout the healthcare delivery process. For instance, the training program can focus on the use of modern informatics to deal with the problems affecting the outcomes of the targeted patients. Medical informatics can guide nurses throughout the healthcare process (Frith et al., 2012). Past studies have shown conclusively that modern technologies can improve the speed of communication, report errors, and promote the level of collaboration. Training nurses and equipping them with modern technologies in healthcare practice can successfully address the challenge of medication error.

The nature of the working environment in a clinical setting significantly dictates the quality of medical care available to the targeted clients. Nurses who are adequately trained will find it easier to act ethically and collaborate throughout the medical process. Proper training initiatives focusing on workplace ethics and behaviors can maximize the level of collaboration (Anderson & Townsend, 2015). Consequently, the nature of communication can improve and reduce the chances of recording severe medication errors. The proposed training sessions can focus on the best workplace practices such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making (Karthikeyan et al., 2015). When such behaviors develop, medical practitioners will be ready to liaise with the recipients of medical care.

Nursing should be treated as a science that requires constant decision-making and collaboration in order to produce desirable results. Nurse Administrators (NAs) should use their competencies to train their followers in different departments (Tsang, Yuk, & Sham, 2014). These leaders should focus on several skills that can improve the performance of their respective nurses. Every department has its unique issues and expectations. Throughout the training process, the NAs should offer evidence-based ideas that can guide their followers to address the obstacles affecting their clients (Hayes et al., 2015). The training process will make it possible for nurses to work as a team, identify potential sources of errors, and make an appropriate adjustment throughout the healthcare delivery process.

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The other evidence-based practice supported by the above PICOT question is the concept of lifelong learning. Many specialists in medical practice believe strongly that nursing knowledge advances every day. NPs who have access to new information will apply it effectively in their health care practice. This fact explains why the suggested training programs should equip caregivers with improved skills and guide them to seek knowledge (Anderson & Townsend, 2015). The lifelong learning approach will ensure nurses focus on new approaches, competencies, initiatives, and strategies that reduce medical problems (Tsang et al., 2014). The practitioners will also study widely and liaise with different professionals in the sector.

Researchers have attributed medication errors to poor dosage calculations. This gap has made it impossible for many patients to receive quality medical support from their respective healthcare facilities. Proper training strategies focusing on the relevance dosage calculation have been suggested by experts in the recent past (Karthikeyan et al., 2015). Throughout the training process, nurses should be empowered in order to improve their dosage calculation competencies.

Analyzing and Synthesizing the Evidence

The above discussion supports the use of powerful initiatives to deal with medication errors. This is the case because the problem affects the welfare and performance of many clients in nursing practice. The use of evidence-based practices in dealing with medication errors has been supported by many physicians and healthcare professionals (Anderson & Townsend, 2015). Some of these practices have the potential to equip nurses with powerful dexterities. Caregivers and pharmacists should countercheck medicines before administering them to their patients (Karthikeyan et al., 2015). It is also appropriate for nurses to ensure medicine containers are labeled recognizably. During the drug dispensation process, the clients should be consulted in order to minimize the chances of medication errors. Combined with meaningful practices such as teamwork and adequate communication, the above initiatives can play a positive role in dealing with this health problem affecting many clients.

The Five Rights Policy has been supported by many institutions that have attained the magnet status designation (Frith et al., 2012). The five principles outlined under the policy include “right to medication, dose, time, patient, and route” (Cheragi, Manoocheri, Mohammadnejad, & Ehsani, 2013, p. 229). NAs should ensure their clients and NPs are aware of these principles. This knowledge will play a positive role in ensuring that the targeted clients receive quality medical support.

Studies have shown conclusively that some overwhelming factors continue to reshape the nature of this problem. Nursing shortage remains one of the challenges facing the global healthcare sector (Frith et al., 2012). The inadequate number of NPs in various clinical settings disorients the medication delivery channel. This happens to be the case because of various problems such as burnout, loss of morale, and exhaustion. The nursing shortage is always correlated with longer working hours. This gap should be used to empower and equip medical practitioners with better coping skills. They will also identify new measures and embrace the power of multidisciplinary teams (Tsang et al., 2014). Such groups will bring together many participants in an attempt to transform the quality of medical practice.

Inferences and Conclusions

Medication errors force patients to address new problems such as prolonged hospitalization and elevated costs (Tsang et al., 2014). The expenses associated with such errors eventually affect the health outcomes of the targeted patients. The malpractice also makes it impossible for hospitals to provide evidence-based medical support to their clients. The continued use of adequate training initiatives can equip medical practitioners with appropriate dexterities to prevent medication errors (Cheragi et al., 2013). The strategy can guide nurses to work as a team, use modern health informatics, create positive working environments, and calculate dosages correctly. Such measures are therefore commendable towards addressing the problem of medication error in every healthcare institution.


Anderson, P., & Townsend, T. (2015). Preventing high-alert medication errors in hospital patients. American Nurse Today, 10(5), 18-23.

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Cheragi, M., Manoocheri, H., Mohammadnejad, E., & Ehsani, S. (2013). Types and causes of medication errors from nurses’ viewpoint. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery, 18(3), 228-231.

Frith, K., Anderson, E., Tseng, F., & Fong, E. (2012). Nurse staffing is an important strategy to prevent medication errors in community hospitals. Nursing Economics, 30(5), 288-294.

Hayes, C., Jackson, D., Davidson, P., & Power, T. (2015). Medication errors in hospitals: A literature review of disruptions to nursing practice during medication administration. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 1(1), 1-14.

Karthikeyan, M., Balasubramanian, T., Khaleel, M., Sahl, M., & Rashifa, P. (2015). A systematic review of medication errors. International Journal of Drug Development and Research, 7(4), 9-11.

Tsang, L., Yuk, T., & Sham, S. (2014). How to change nurses’ behavior leading to medication administration errors using a survey approach in United Christian Hospital. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 4(12), 17-26.

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