Drug Errors

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Each year, thousands of patients die in hospitals because of errors in medication. These deviations occur mostly because of the complex process of drug administration. Errors can arise from the complicated system of drug administration itself; from prescription to the actual administration to patients. These mistakes in drug administration can be caused by many factors. Some of the reasons why these errors occur are the inadequate knowledge and skills both by the prescribing physician and the administering nurse, failure to comply with hospital policies and guidelines, lack or errors in communication within the health team, and several system issues within the hospital. Since nurses actually administer the drugs themselves, they also assume the responsibility for such errors. In fact, they are considered to be the last chance by which the hospital can correct any errors in drug administration. Because of this, nurses are expected to intercept a large percent of medication errors. If nurses fail to administer rightfully the medications, sanctions and punishments are carried out. These sanctions differ among countries and are often specific in hospitals according to their known standards. Accordingly, all errors should be documented in an incident report to be submitted by the nurse who committed the mistake. This incident report will then be a subject for investigation for neglect or abuse. During investigation, a nurse is usually suspended from work until the result of the investigation is declared. Once an infringement is proven to have occurred, sanctions often include dismissal from employment, confiscation of license, and even imprisonment for criminal or civil cases. For nurses to avoid errors in medication, it is vital that they follow the ten rights of medication administration; the first five of which are considered as the gold standard. These ten include the right drug, dose, route, patient, time, documentation, assessment, education, evaluation and the...
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