The Virtual Nurse
Med Errors: hmmmmmm, scary huh? But it is a fact of life. Medication errors happen every day. I wish there was a magic formula that would make medication administration faultless but I am afraid there isn't. We all need to remember that we, as humans, make mistakes. It, a lot of times, it is the system that needs revamping. I know it sounds like a copout but it is true.
Do you remember the 'Five Rights'?
When administering medications, it is imperitive that we remember the 'Five Rights'. 1) right drug, 2) right dose, 3) right patient, 4) right time, and 5)the right route.
- The right drug: Know the medication you are giving by both names, the generic and trade both. Always check the medication name with the Medication Administration Sheet (MAR) 3 times. When taking the bottle off the shelf, against the MAR, and before putting the bottle away.
- The right dose: Read the bottle for the dosage, then check this for accuracy against the MAR. Make sure the abbreviations are identicle on the bottle and the MAR.
- The right patient: Read the name on the bottle, on the MAR and most importantly on the wrist band. Always check the wrist band when giving medications, even though you have been nursing the patient for a while. You could be having a busy and and get your patients mixed up in your head. Believe it or not, this does happen a lot. So, check the name band before allowing your patient to take his/her medications.
- The right time: This is very important. Check the bottle and the MAR for the times. Some medications are not to be given with food. Therefore there time may be 1 hour before or after a meal. Some medications can't be taken with other medications, therefore they may be prescribed for 1 - 2 hours before or after another medication. Some facilities allow a medication to be safely given for an allowance of 1 hour before and after the stated time. You need to remember though, the medication should be taken into consideration with this allowance. If a medication is 1/2 hour late due to lab or some other reason, it is not correct to give the medication knowing full well that the next medication time is in 1/2 and that medications does not mix with this medication. The Dr. should be notified in this instance. Or follow policy/procedure.
- The right route: The MAR should clearly state which route the medication should be administered. If this is not clearly stated then clarify the order.
- Important***If there is any part of the order that you question. Stop, and call the Dr. immediately for medication order clarification.
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