Preventing Medical Errors | Free Essay Example

Preventing Medical Errors

Words: 1140
Topic: Health & Medicine


Medication is an essential practice in every healthcare setting. Nurses and healthcare providers should administer the right drugs to their patients. However, this clinical practice is usually associated with numerous errors. Forni, Chu, and Fanikos (2010) argue that “medical errors are either systemic or individual” (p. 14). Healthcare institutions should therefore us effective measures in order to protect more patients from such errors. Medication errors can have significant consequences on the health outcomes of many patients. Such “errors can cause permanent injury or harm” (Roy, Gupta, & Srivastava, 2005, p. 62).

More often than not, the affected patients are usually re-hospitalized for a long period. Medical errors can have numerous economic and social implications. This fact explains why medical practitioners should use different measures to prevent such errors. This essay identifies evidence-based ideas and practices that can be used to deal with various medication errors.

Powerful Methods to Prevent Medication Errors

Past studies have focused on the best approaches to prevent medication errors. Athanasakis (2012) explains why safety measures can produce positive results. For instance, nurses should identify and confirm different medicines before they are taken by a patient. This practice will reduce some of the errors experienced in different healthcare settings. Preventive measures have been suggested in order to deal with this problem.

According to Athanasakis (2012), medicines should be standardized in order to improve the drug administration process. Medicine containers should also be labeled accordingly. Medicines should also be double-checked by more than two pharmacists. Healthcare facilities “should implement the Five Rights Policy in order to get the best results” (Frith, Anderson, Tseng, & Fong, 2012, p. 290). These principles include “right to dose, medication, route, time, and patient” (Athanasakis, 2012, p. 775).

Lifelong learning is “a powerful approach used to deal with various healthcare problems such as medication errors” (Frith et al., 2012, p. 289). Nurses and pharmacists “are educated in order to acquire better dosing calculation skills” (Athanasakis, 2012, p. 779). Students should also be equipped with appropriate mathematical competencies. These concepts may include decimals and fractions. This knowledge can improve their dosing calculation skills. Lack of appropriate nursing skills has been found to produce more medication errors. This evidence-based information explains why medical practitioners should acquire new skills in order to reduce such errors.

The other major issue affecting the medical profession is the nature of communication. Nurses might communicate with their clients and patients in a noisy environment. Athanasakis (2012) encourages nurses to work in quiet environments. This approach has been used to improve the level of communication. Athanasakis, 2012) believes that “confirmation of dosages should be executed before the drug is administered to the targeted client” (p. 778). An interpreter is needed to ensure the targeted patient understands how to take every drug.

Nursing Administrators (NAs) have a role to play in every medical situation. These NAs should influence the conduct of nurses in a positive manner. They should encourage them to report various errors. Many NAs collaborate with other practitioners in order to produce the best goals. Such NAs should conduct random checks to ensure every patient gets the right medication (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). Such NAs offer timely training sessions in order to boost the competencies of different practitioners. The practice has been embraced in many hospitals in an attempt to reduce medical errors.

An anonymous reporting strategy can also be implemented in order to undertake evidence-based studies. Such studies will make it easier for many facilities to promote new practices (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). Such practices can reduce different medication errors. New procedures, policies, and action plans can be identified in order to improve the drug administration process. Patients should also be encouraged to collaborate with their care providers.

Modern informatics and medical technologies have the potential to reduce a wide range of errors. Wasserman et al. (2014) argues that “a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) can be essential towards dealing with such errors especially during the ordering stage” (p. 6). Physicians are also encouraged to focus on different medical allergies and other problems affecting the targeted patients. A powerful Decision Support System (DSS) will promote the level of surveillance and decision-making. More ideas will be gathered in an attempt to improve the quality of every medication process (Forni et al., 2010). According to Wasserman et al. (2014), Health Information Technology (HIT) can be used to improve every diagnostic procedure. The practice will ensure medicines are administered in a professional manner.

Effective training models have been suggested to reduce different errors. The training model should equip nurses and medical practitioners with proper competencies. They will consult widely and read new articles. They will also work in teams. The level of collaboration will increase thus making it easier for the caregivers to prevent every potential error. The practitioners will find it easier to make evidence-based decisions and address various problems affecting their patients. The incorporation of interpreters is a powerful process that can address the needs of many patients (Wasserman et al., 2014).

Government agencies “should implement proper policies for effective product design” (Anderson & Townsend, 2010, p. 25). A standardized product design will ensure every nurse uses and administers different drugs effectively. The other “major cause of medication errors is the current issue of nursing shortage” (Forni et al., 2010, p. 15). According to Frith et al. (2012), medical institutions should employ more practitioners and caregivers. The practice will reduce burnout and exhaustion. More nurses will be available to offer evidence-based care to the targeted patients (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). They will also administer different drugs using the Five Rights Policy.

Personal Opinion

Medical facilities should combine the above methods in order to prevent various medication errors. The use of new training programs will encourage nurses to administer the right medicines. Modern technologies will improve every diagnostic process. The medication process will also be executed diligently thus reducing such errors. Patients and drugs should also be carefully identified (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). More nurses should be encouraged to countercheck different drug prescriptions in order to get the best results. The combination of these practices will make it possible for many institutions to reduce such errors. More patients will eventually get the best health outcomes.


Medication errors have the potential to change the health experiences and outcomes of many patients. The nursing community should identify a wide range of methodologies in order to deal with every possible medication error. The use of modern technological systems will make it possible for more nurses to administer the required drugs (Roy et al., 2005). More nurses should be hired in every healthcare facility. NAs should collaborate with their followers in order to produce the best results. New policies should be used to govern every drug administration process. These efforts will continue to reduce medication errors and eventually improve the quality of healthcare.

Reference List

Anderson, P., & Townsend, T. (2010). Medication Errors: Don’t Let Them Happen to You. American Nurse Today, 1(1), 23-28. Web.

Athanasakis, E. (2012). Prevention of medication errors made by nurses in clinical practice. Health Science Journal, 6(4), 773-783. Web.

Forni, A., Chu, H., & Fanikos, J. (2010). Technology Utilization to Prevent Medication Errors. Current Drug Safety, 5(1), 13-18. Web.

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. Web.

Roy, V., Gupta, P., & Srivastava, S. (2005). Medication Errors: Causes and Prevention. Health Administrator, 1(1), 60-64. Web.

Wasserman, M., Renfrew, M., Green, A., Lopez, L., Tan-McGrory, A., & Betancourt, J. (2014). Identifying and Preventing Medical Errors in Patients with Limited English Proficiency: Key Findings and Tools for the Field. Journal for Healthcare Quality, 36(3), 5-16. Web.