Raising Awareness on High Alert Medications in Order to Reduce Error



What I have been encountering as a Nurse Educator when I introduce my students to the clinical setting in the Medical-Surgical Unit, is that among these select drugs (even if administered correctly) it has a high probability to cause harm or injury to patients, particularly in understaffed environments. I pride myself in teaching my students proper medication administration and emphasize the 5 rights of this process (the right patient, drug, time, route, and dose). I’ve seen that this specific problem calls for intervention and special attention. Nurses are too busy engaging in other facets of nursing, like making their rounds and handling other patient’s needs. More focus on education should be stressed when dealing with these types of medications. A medication safety officer consisting of a Nurse or Nurse Manager specifically trained in the latest drug administration techniques and trained in identifying the adverse effects of these special category drugs, solely in charge of performing all the necessary checks should be put in place on floors with a high number of patients on that floor. Due to the risk of high error, this should be their only duty.  We will examine the relationship between better education and medication errors associated with injury/death from these special category drugs and the difference in outcomes if specialty staff was brought in to monitor HAM administration. Better education focused in preparing nurses for Identification Double Checks (IDC’s), utilizing barcoding technology, dosage calculations, identify patient and medication at bedside, utilization of alarm devices, and a clear understanding of smart infusion pump technology, will help decrease injury and death to patients prescribed these High Alert Medications. Effective ways to prevent medication errors.

High Alert Medications

1. Anticoagulants

2. Sedatives

3. Insulins

4. Opioids


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  • Jing
    Description: Preventing medication errors

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