How do nurses prevent medical errors?

The potential for medical errors remains despite significant advancements in technology and care protocols in the health sector. From issuing the wrong medication to communication issues that lead to subpar care, these errors pose liability concerns for healthcare organizations and severe or fatal effects for patients.

recent study reveals medical errors cost approximately $20bn annually and result in roughly 100,000 people dying. These mishaps frequently involve patient falls, infections, prescription mistakes, documentation errors and equipment injuries due to the failure to do the following:

  • Clarify multidisciplinary orders in conjunction with other members of the healthcare team
  • Notify patients and their families
  • Lack of staff and patient care units that allow for providing safe care

With the increasing emphasis placed on better patient outcomes, the role of nurses in discovering and correcting medical errors becomes even more necessary. This article discusses how nurses can implement proper procedures to prevent costly mistakes.

Nurses adhere to the five rights of medication administration

Ensuring the five rights of medication administration are followed is the most effective strategy nurses can use to prevent medical errors. While working on their MSN-FNP online degree at the University of Indianapolis, nurses are provided with instruction on the rules for clinical medication administration and patient protection.

The five rights of medication administration include:

Right patient:  Nurses ask patients or residents to state their names. In addition, they will examine each patient’s medical bracelets. 

Right drug: The nurse will check to ensure the medication being taken matches the prescription name recommended.

Right path: Nurses check how medications are given to patients. There are several ways to provide drugs to patients. This includes orally, intramuscularly, intravenously and topically.

Right time: Nurses consider the time medications are administered and ensure they are as near the target time possible.

Right dosage: Nurses confirm that the prescription is the appropriate strength for the patient to prevent dosage errors.

Nurses provide comprehensive documentation

Providing comprehensive documentation is another way for nurses to reduce or prevent medical errors from occurring.

Through proper documentation, nurses can provide personalized care by accurately reflecting medical assessments, changes in clinical status, care given and essential patient data through adequate recording.

Nurses complete an abundance of tasks daily. Without proper documentation, healthcare organizations may struggle to provide the appropriate care to every patient.

For instance, if a nurse fails to document the dosage of an as-needed medicine, another nurse may have to delay delivering the prescription because there is no documentation of the initial dosage.

By providing comprehensive documentation, nurses can prevent overdoses by maintaining a line of communication between the healthcare team and the patients.

This way, providers can quickly pick up information that might reveal other health issues for patients for value-added nursing diagnosis.

Now, you might ask what kind of information nurses record. Although the data gathered may vary depending on circumstances, proper documentation often includes information related to the care plan, admission transfer and all aspects of the nursing process.

Additionally, the information nurses provide is essential for planning and evaluating any medical interventions as they are on the front lines of patient care.

Start preventing medical errors

Avoiding medical errors is essential to patient success and better overall health. Nurses need to keep themselves informed and document their actions in order to keep things running smoothly.