The Effects Of Medication Errors On Health Care Essay

The Effects Of Medication Errors On Health Care Essay

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A newly employed critical care nurse was just about to finish a 12 hour night shift when she realized she had one more patient to administer medication to. It was the busiest Friday night shift she has ever worked due to poor nurse-patient ratio, and the workload felt impossible. She gave her last patient the properly prescribed medication, but failed to notice that the physician hastily wrote an updated dosage for a high risk medication, Digoxin. The patient’s heart rate began to slow down and life-saving procedures had to be activated. Medication errors are “any preventable event that may cause, or lead, to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer (About Medication Errors, 2015)”. Medication errors are an increasing issue that directly affect the patient, the nurse, and the facility. It increases the potential of harming patients which violates the ethical implications of nonmaleficence– do no harm to patients. Medication errors can also cause emotional harm to the nurse and the reputation of the facility the error occurred at could suffer from the consequences of malpractice. Approximately 98,000 people die from medical errors that occur in hospitals a year which costs two-billion dollars annually (Kaasalainen, 2009). In the scenario mentioned earlier, who would be held accountable for the accident? The novice nurse who was tired and inattentive due to fatigue after her long shift, or external sources such as the facility for not having adequate staff on the floor, or the physician whose writing was difficult to read? Among all the contributing factors, nurses are the last line of defense and the main contributor to medication error...


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...tical care nurse previously mentioned is accountable for the medication error. If the nurse put her patients’ needs before her own she could have ignored her fatigue and used critical thinking while administering the medication. Even though the physician’s handwriting was hard to read, the nurse should have demonstrated effective communication by contacting the physician for clarity. Nurses are to recognize and respect the intrinsic worth of each person (2008) and can aid in declining this current issue by effectively communicating with their patients and other health care professionals, by demonstrating critical thinking and having a holistic approach to each patient, and lastly having a client-centered mentality. Nurses are the last line of defense before medication is administered, therefore, they should perform all procedures with mindfulness and accountability.

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