Medication errors can cause devastating results for patients. According to Niemann et al. (2015), nurses who are frequently in charge of medication handling face, “particularly in paediatric care, the complexity of drug-handling processes [that often] exceeds that of processes for adult patients” (p. 102). The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) have established medication principles for nurses including: authority, competence and safety (2015). If nurses are extensively trained to follow medication competencies why do medication errors still occur? Toruner and Uysal (2012) indicate that regardless of technological advances the rates of medication errors are influenced by human factors. In a three-step intervention study Niemann et al. (2015) found that “nearly 90% of our hospitalized children were affected by inappropriate drug handling” (p. 108). Nurses must be held to higher medication safety standards when caring for the pediatric population. The purpose of this paper is to explore the nurse’s role in pediatric medication safety. The first component of this paper will examine the factors that influence medication errors. The second component will outline the unique challenges that pediatric nurses encounter in relation to medication practices. The third component will evaluate implications for improving pediatric medication safety. Finally, specific Bevis (1989) tools will be discussed to connect nursing theory to safe nursing practice.
According to Miller et al. (2007) (as cited in Conroy, Davar, & Jones, 2012), the rates of medication errors vary depending on the stage of the medication process: prescribing, dispensing, administration and documentation (Figure A1). The highest erro...
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...munication in all aspects of patient care and must be used accurately in all stages of medication administration.
In conclude, the nurse’s role in pediatric medication safety was evaluated in this paper. The factors that influence medication errors and the unique challenges of pediatric medication administration were also evaluated. Additionally, implications for improving medication safety in the pediatric population were discussed. Finally, Bevis (1989) tools including (a) research, (b) teaching, and (c) communication were suggested to further improve the nurses ability to enhance pediatric medication safety. “Medication administration is a fundamental nursing role; however, it is not without risk” (Gill et al., 2011, p. 136). With ADEs occurring at higher rates in the pediatric population nurses must adhere to higher standards of safe medication practice.
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