Medicines are one of the common means of treatment modality, commonly practiced and used in healthcare settings (Gyasi, 2017). The main aim to use medication is to bring about a relive in the ongoing signs and symptoms of the patient. It although, in multiple incidences has been associated with harm as well. There is also an increased incidence of adverse reactions with administration of these drugs and also multiple errors are observed with their administration, during various interventions. Some of these incidences have caused more harm to an individual than carrying out good to them. Australian community on safety and quality in healthcare has therefore developed medication safety standards to regularize and monitor the same (Gilbert, 2017).The main target of this standard is to ensure that utter safety is observed by the clinicians, during prescribing medications, dispersing these medications to the patient population and administering these drugs through proper channels. The use of these drugs is also monitored through the means of this standard. The standard also ensures that the consumers are well aware about the risks and harms of medications taken by them and are dully infirmed about the details of the same, before being administered to them. The following research will analyse for the various points if strength and weakness faced by the medical staff in managing this standard in patient population. The study will also reflect in the various fruitful gals and strategies that can be implemented to ensure that the medication safety standard is followed and implemented in its full capacity.
The main objectives that will be pondered upon in this study will include:
The above-mentioned goals can be attained by the help of following measures:
Medications is the most common form of treatment means used commonly in healthcare practises, all around the world. Wherever these interventions are used in a methodical approach they can contribute largely in fetching better healthcare outcomes in patients (Pevnick, 2016). Safety assurance while drug administration can contribute significantly to the overall improvement in the healthcare status of an individual. Despite best efforts from the various healthcare professionals there has been an increase in the number of incidents reported, due to unsafe administration of drugs to the patients. Medication safety is however, a means to prevent these incidences from occurring and ensuring no harm caused during administration of the drug. It also ensures to keep the patient and their family in close loop, before administration of drug, so that they are well aware, not only about the drug but about the various contraindications that can be caused by intake of the same (Roughead, 2016).
The standards of medication safety also ensure that the healthcare outcomes are not impacted and there is a drastic reduction in length of stay in the hospitals, reduced re-admissions to the hospital facilities and thus, decreasing the overall cost involved in management of these diseases (Mickelson, 2018). The main issue regarding medication safety is the misunderstanding of the use of different terms used to define the same. Medication safety may comprise of both factors of medication errors and adverse drug reactions, but these two terms don’t make a clear distinction in explaining the term of medication safety cumulatively. There is however, a direct link between the errors in medications, as it may lead to adverse drug reaction in individuals.
Providing patients with medications to the patients is integral part of the daily routine of nurses. Before giving any medication to the patient it is the responsibility of the nursing professional to understand as to why the patient is being given the particular drug. The medications prescribed should be in sync with the patient’s diagnosis and clinical signs and symptoms as well. There is also a dire need of prior assessment, before prescribing medication to the patient as it enables a nurse to know for the potential harms it can cause to the patient. It is also imperative to note for any side-effects post administration of drug to report the same within the given window time, so that the same can be dealt with appropriately. Studies have show that to minimize this error the use of electronic medicines dispensers have fetched great results (Nakrem, 2018). However, the system that manages the same needs to be closely monitored in order to reduce any chance of medication error. Identification of the patient as per the doctor’s prescription is also important to make sure that accuracy is maintained while drug prescription. The patient should also be informed about the side-effects, uses and harm of the drug that is to be provided to them for the purpose of their treatment.
There is an increased pressure on the nursing staff to ensure that drugs are administered to the patient with due safety. There are multiple factors that can cause medications errors in a healthcare setting. There can be a system error in dispensing wrong medication to the patient on time. The nurses also work in shift that are of longer durations and thus, chances of errors of drug administration in such incidences increases by multiple fold. There are patient related factors as well such as non-adherence to medication and overdosing of drugs. Non-adherence to drugs is manly observed in patients that are suffering from chronic illness. As these patients are having multiple comorbidities, they are on multiple drugs to take in a day to manage their diseases. This might cause reluctancy in these patients to take their drugs, prescribed for their particular illness. Some of the patients also don’t believe much in the effectiveness of the drug and thus, might not take their medications religiously. Drug overdosing can be observed mostly in patients effected from mental illness, as they have a constant perception of considering the drugs as a final resort to treat their ailments (Cochran, 2017). It the role of the nurse to minimize the myths and misconceptions related to drugs and their administration in the patient population. They should themselves be well-aware of the side-effects and effects of giving a particular medication to the patient. Before providing the concerning patient with the required dose, patient should be ensured about all the possible outcomes that can be derived from drug administration.
As a nursing professional, the staff should adhere to all guidelines before and after medication dispersion. The details of the patients should be reviewed and re-reviewed if and when required. The drug should be prescribed post-duly checking for all the required details. The administration should also be ensured to take place under guided supervision, especially for nurses who are new to this field of work and might have a little lesser knowledge regarding dosage and drug administration, in comparison to their counterparts. The process will largely make sure that accuracy is also maintained during medication administration. The drug dosage charts can also be provided to the medical professionals engaged in this field of work, in order to reduce the time required in analysing the dosage and promotion of effective medical management to the patient, attained at a higher speed. Patient prior medication history should also be closely monitored, especially in the cases where patient is suffering from multiple comorbidities. This will also help in reducing the instances of adverse drug reactions, due to overlapping of multiple drugs and its effects taken by the patient (Alomari, 2018).
It is also a part of nurse’s duty to handle the patient’s with respect with their cultural beliefs and practices. It is imperative for a nurse to be prepared before-hand before conducting for thorough evaluation before carrying out any intervention so that the chances of any potential errors can be minimized by multiple folds. There are certain modalities that can help the nursing professionals in ensuring medication safety. These include monitoring the dosages for medications as per standard doses mentioned in the chart. This check will ensure safety of drug administered to the patient. Check list can be used to monitor for any deviation of the clinical signs and symptoms of the patient, both before and after administration of the drug. Noting for all the medications in the chart will also help the nurse sin providing effective handovers and will thus, minimize the error chance and improve medication safety in individuals. The younger professionals can also take the assistance of senior staff in cross-checking of the drug before it’s administration to the patient. This will also help not only the nursing staff, but other healthcare workers involved in the process, to provide the patient with the holistic care, through multidisciplinary approach.
To have a successful medication process, it is crucial for the nurse to work in close coordination with the healthcare team members and should be encouraged to work in sync with doctors as well. Administration of the drug mainly requires confidence and courage to approach the patient to impart the required knowledge to him. The skills and knowledge sets should be groomed enough in order to provide the answers to all questions put up by the patients, regarding their ailment and the medication taken by them for the same. The effective medical management can be done only by following instruction closely and creating a communicative environment between the patient and the nursing staff (Huckels, 2017).
The action plan should include the following in order to make sure that medication safety is maintained at all times. While prescribing and administering drugs to the patients.
The main strength of this standard id ensuring safety while prescribing medications to the patients. However, there are certain underlying factors that hamper the smooth facilitation of this process. These factors can be either healthcare oriented or patient oriented in nature. The healthcare-oriented weaknesses can be identified as the faults on the part of healthcare professionals while providing medical management to the patient. Whereas, patient-oriented faults can be noted as non-adherence to drug and overdosing of the prescribed drugs to them.
The goals aim at not only reducing the errors but also reporting those errors on timely bases to be corrected. The goals of the study can be as follow:
For any nursing professional drug prescription is a common clinical practise of the daily routine for patient care and coordination. There are greater chances of errors in the administration of the same due to many underlying factors. Although these errors are considered as a serious issue as it impacts the patients directly. This can result in direct implications on the patient and longer stay in hospital settings, which will hamper the recovery of the patient by greater extent. It is therefore, imperative to note and document any error in medication administration and the adverse reactions caused by the same, so that timely action can be taken on the same. It is duty of the physician as well as the patient to work collaboratively to ensure safe drug management is taking place to cure the underlying disease.
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Cochran, G., Hruschak, V., Bacci, J. L., Hohmeier, K. C., & Tarter, R. (2017). Behavioral, mental, and physical health characteristics and opioid medication misuse among community pharmacy patients: A latent class analysis. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 13(6), 1055-1061.
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Nakrem, S., Solbjør, M., Pettersen, I. N., & Kleiven, H. H. (2018). Care relationships at stake? Home healthcare professionals’ experiences with digital medicine dispensers–a qualitative study. British Medical Journal of health services research, 18(1), 26.
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Pitkänen, A., Teuho, S., Uusitalo, M., & Kaunonen, M. (2016). Improving medication safety based on reports in computerized patient safety systems. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 34(3), 122-127.
Roughead, E. E., Semple, S. J., & Rosenfeld, E. (2016). The extent of medication errors and adverse drug reactions throughout the patient journey in acute care in Australia. International journal of evidence-based healthcare, 14(3-4), 113-122.
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