Medication errors account for a major factor in why healthcare can be hazardous to your health. If we, as nurses, do our part to observe basic rules we learned in school, many errors can be avoided. Care for your patients in the same way you would want someone to care for your loved ones. Never take shortcuts with your license.
1. Right Medication. Check the MD order and check it against the medication label. If you can't read it...ASK for help...call the MD
2. Right Dose. Check the MD order and the medication label. If you aren't familiar with the medication, look it up. Does this does make sense for your patient?
3. Right Time. Check the MD order and check the medication label. Check the time. Give the medication at the time prescribed.
4. Right Route. Check the MD order and check the medication label. Make sure the route is accessible. If it's p.o., can the patient swallow meds? If not, can it be crushed? Is the IV site appropriate? Can it be given via a peripheral line or does it need to be a central line and vice versa?
5. Right Patient. Check the MD order and check the medication label. Now check the patient. Can you identify this patient? Don't assume you know who the patient is, and NEVER go to room and bed number alone. Simple ways to ensure your patient's identity are to ask him for his name, date of birth, MD name.
6. Follow any manufacturer’s instructions. Follow your facility's protocols.
7. Observe the patient taking oral meds to be sure he has swallowed them.
8. Observe the patient for how well the medication and the procedure (especially if invasive such as an injection) is tolerated.
9. DOCUMENT medication, dose, time, route, and immediate response.
10. Notify the MD immediately of any adverse situations, including errors.
The Queensland Health Department is committed to improving the quality and safety of patient care and it is hoped that these guidelines will assist healthcare workers to achieve a safer health service delivery environment.
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