Safety

Ask the expert: Communicating medication management to nursing staff

OSHA Healthcare Connection, September 25, 2012

Q: What should my nursing staff know when it comes to medication management?

A: If necessity and as expected, the “five rights” approach of medication administration (right patient, right medication, right dose, right route, and right time) is the basic nursing mantra to be followed. In addition, consideration of a sixth right—right documentation—is strongly suggested to address the concerns raised by the Institute of Medicine’s alarming statements concerning the prevalence of medical errors.

Stressing these preventative measures in general and department specific nursing orientation communication coupled with a recommendation to follow the “Stop, Look, and Listen” methodology similar to the time out process for Universal Protocol™ adherence may further reduce the possibilities of medication errors. Not only advocating visual inspection of the specific medication, medication expiration date, and practitioner’s complete order, but using the nurse’s innate critical thinking skills to question the order (“if the order doesn’t look or sound right”), and seeking a practitioner order clarification will enhance medication error preventative measures.

Decisive organizational nursing policies related to medication safety will form the essence of nursing orientation.

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