Medication errors are known to be preventable scenarios that result in the inappropriate use of medicine under the watch of a medical expert, consumer, or patient. Medication errors may be a result of professional malpractices, especially during the processes of prescriptions, communication, labeling of the product, product packaging, and the nomenclature used by the drug manufacturer (Gonzales, 2011). Technology has taken a new dimension to attempt to solve medication errors through the automation of symptoms’ detection and probable treatments of different diseases (Forni, Chu, & Fanikos, 2010). These measures have assisted in curbing the medication error cases. Nevertheless, a permanent solution concerning the improper administration of medicine is yet to be found. The current paper summarizes the quantitative study Types and causes of medication errors from nurse’s viewpoint conducted by Cheragi, Manoocheri, Mohammadneja, and Ehsani, as well as explains the ways in which the findings might be used in nursing practice
Background of Study
The use of medication is inevitable for every human being in the modern world. Mostly, the administered drugs are known to have adverse drug effects, especially if inappropriate prescriptions are given (Burke, 2005). Some of the drugs have a devastating effect in the end while some of them have no effect at all. Medical specialists presume that the more potent a drug is said to be, the more adverse effects it is deemed to cause. The reduction of medication error cases will lead to a better health care and will significantly reduce the amount of money spent by the government on dealing with the consequences of medication errors that occur on a daily basis. The purpose of the medication error research was to determine the current number and types of medication errors reported by nurses. The objective of the research was to identify the reasons that lead to medication errors mistakes and find a way to reduce the number of errors.
Methods of Study
In this cross-sectional descriptive study, the quantitative research method was used to determine the medication error cases and the reasons that may have led to the medication errors. The survey carried out on 237 randomly selected nurses indicates that 64.55% of nurses had been involved in the cases of medication errors. The data collection method used was filling out questionnaires, and SPSS softare was used to analyze the collected data (Cheragi et al., 2013). The random selection of nurses was based on the criteria of having a bachelor’s degree, good physical health, and a working experience of more than six months. The questionnaire was composed of 17 questions; ten questions addressed specific medication error issues and seven were based on the demographic characteristics (Cheragi et al., 2013). Nurses with more than one occurrence of medication errors were required to select and indicate one item. The validity and reliability of the content of the questionnaire were determined by the literature review guiding the study and test-retest method (Cheragi et al., 2013).
Results and Discussion
According to the information obtained, 67.08% of the nurses were female with the rest being male respondents. More than half of the nurse participants were identified to be under contract employment with 55.69% working in internal medicine wards. More specifically, less than 40% of the nurses denied having committed medication errors while more than 60% indicated that they had prescribed wrong medicine unknowingly or given incorrect dosages to patients. Furthermore, almost 40% of errors medication errors reported were committed only once.
Based on the obtained results, one can assume that most medication error cases are not reported. There was a noted correlation of medication error cases and managerial and human factors. For instance, almost 80% of the nurses indicated that they had prescribed wrong medication due to illegible prescriptions. Another important cause of medication errors was the lack of pharmacological knowledge (Cheragi et al., 2013). The most reported types of medication errors were found to be cases of wrong dosage (28,11%) and wrong infusion rates (32,03%). The use of abbreviations and similar drug names were reported to be the main causatives of medication errors in prescriptions (Cheragi et al., 2013). The implications that resulted from the medication error made by nurses led to the patients returning to the medical facilities with either a worsened condition of the disease or a side effect as a result of the wrong prescription (Cheragi et al., 2013).
Suggestions and Limitations
Some limitations can be drawn from the data collected. The first limitation is that the size of the sample was not large. To draw a concrete conclusion, it is advisable to present datta from a larger sample size, as well as inquire particular demographics (Burke, 2005). Furthermore, since the survey had no age limitations, it was impossible to obtain well-rounded data.
The implication of the study is that medication errors discovered early enough should be reported for effective countermeasures to be taken to avoid drug reactions and other infections. Nurses should report medication errors, which will lead to a better diagnosis and the prevention of side effects. The study shows that nurses should also be careful when handling human consumable medicine as their actions determine the probability of medication errors occurring. However, the nursing department should reduce the penalty for nurses found to have committed medication errors to encourage them to take the initiative to report the errors.
The automation of the medication administration process can be proposed as the most accurate measure to reduce medication errors. Computerized physician entries can give error messages when wrong dosages are prescribed or even when wrong medication is administered (Forni et al., 2010).
The study was approved by the research deputy of the hospital. The questionnaires’ design was anonymous for purposes of protecting the privacy of the respondents. According to Cheragi et al., (2013), the nurses had also an opportunity to join and leave the study at their will without any coercion.
Medication systems are complex, and a total elimination of medication error cases is almost impossible. However, the reduction of medication errors remains essential to maintain a trusted, high-quality health care system. It is evident from the survey that not all medication errors are reported, so it is not possible to address the issue based on the data collected. According to the study, supervision, planning, and the encouragement of nurses to report errors are some of the ways to improve medication error rates, which will allow analyzing the cause and type of error and avoid it in the future. The solution that can be suggested is the adoption of technology, which can significantly reduce the cases related to medication error cases, as well as government expenditures. However, only time will tell if computers can be able to control and provide proper medication, as well as reduce the number of medication error cases.