Literature Review on the Factors That Contribute to Medication Errors

Topics: Nursing, Nurse / Pages: 16 (3998 words) / Published: Jun 4th, 2013
Literature review on the factors that contribute to medication errors

Introduction

Medication management is a fundamental component of nursing, so should be managed with caution however medication errors do still occur within the healthcare system till this day. Medication errors have been identified as the second most common type of patient safety error in the United Kingdom by National Patient Safety Agency with 59,802 reported incidents occurring in 2007. The medication management process has many stages within it self and within each of these stages there is a possibility for a medication error to occur. The three key stages within the medication management process are prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines (Vincent, 2010). As previously mentioned there is a possibility for errors to occur within any of these stages however this should not be happening. Most of the reported incidents of medication errors should have been preventable if healthcare professionals followed the guidelines in place with strict compliance. The NMC, the Nursing and Midwifery Council govern the training conduct and education of all nurses. A key role of the NMC (2008) is to “safeguard the health and well being of the public”; they do this by providing nurses with standards that they must comply with. In relation to medication errors the NMC has provide the standards for medicines management (2010) which all nurses should follow. There are many factors that can contribute to medication errors and these factors can be split into two categories; systematic errors and human errors. Shift work, staffing and workload can be incorporated systematic errors whereas knowledge, education, and distraction can be incorporated human errors. Taxis and barber (2003) found that 49% of drug errors originated in the administration process. The definition of a medication error is “any error in the prescribing, dispensing, or administration of a drug, irrespective of whether such

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