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Medication Errors: Measures, Stakeholders, Causes

Measures (Indicators) to Support the Issue

In order to control medication errors and cope with this undesirable phenomenon in the field of healthcare successfully, it is essential to know the indicators of the problem. One of them is the time that the nursing staff spends on medication administration. According to Hayes, Jackson, Davidson, and Power (2015) who conduct their research devoted to identifying mistakes prevalence, “in addition to reported errors, between one and two errors per patient per day remain unreported” (p. 3064). These statistics indicate the insufficiently effective organization of control over the prescription of appropriate drugs and staff qualifications. Consequently, to improve patient outcomes, additional training in medical settings is required to support the resolution of the issue in question.

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Another measure that needs to be taken into account is the readmission level. In case this parameter is too high, it is a significant reason for the management of a particular medical setting to check the activities of subordinates to identify the insufficiently competent performance of direct duties (Hayes et al., 2015). In addition to this parameter, attendant difficulties can also be mentioned – high mortality, postdischarge disability, and patients’ emotional distress. All these factors can be the measures of identifying the problem and may help to support its solution.

Stakeholders in Improving the Nursing Issue

In order to improve the nursing problem addressed, a number of stakeholders should be involved. At the state level, many participants can work jointly to achieve changes for the better. The list includes “ministries of health, national coordinators or programme managers for medication safety, health system leaders, experts, educational institutions, researchers, safe medication practice centres, regulatory agencies, patient representative bodies” (WHO, 2017, p. 12).

At the local level within a single clinic, the management should be involved, department heads, and senior nurses. The role of each participant may be significant in coping with the problem of medication errors. For instance, nurses are to closely monitor medical prescriptions and patient outcomes. The heads of departments are obliged to check employees’ knowledge of the appropriate dosages of drugs and the time they are taken. The management of a specific medical institution should ensure that subordinates do not violate the established standards of work with potent drugs and take measures in case of violations. All these participants can contribute to addressing the nursing issue under consideration.

The Causes of the Nursing Issue

Different causes of medical errors may be determined based on the analysis of this problem. According to Hayes et al. (2015), “interruptions to the medication administration process” are common reasons for this issue. Untimely or insufficiently effective control over the process of tracking the issuance of drugs is fraught with errors, which subsequently can lead to negative patient outcomes. Also, the authors mention the human factor as one of the risk aspects (Hayes et al., 2015).

In order to avoid mistakes in the process of professional practice, nurses should always be concentrated, which, in turn, is associated with the previous reason. Finally, according to Hayes et al. (2015), environmental factors can also play a significant role. If conflicts and tension relationships in a particular team take place, there is a high probability of errors caused by defocusing attention and fatigue. Based on the causes of medication errors, it can be noted that the role of the nursing staff in the prevention of this problem is crucial. Therefore, these are junior medical employees who are to take all possible efforts to avoid this issue.


Hayes, C., Jackson, D., Davidson, P. M., & Power, T. (2015). Medication errors in hospitals: A literature review of disruptions to nursing practice during medication administration. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24(21-22), 3063-3076. Web.

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World Health Organization (WHO). (2017). Medication without harm: WHO global patient safety challenge. Web.

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