Registered nurses play a key role in preventing medical errors, particularly
when it comes to administering medications. When mistakes do occur, they
can cause serious patient harm.
As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, medical
errors cause at least 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events per
year. Even more concerning, medication mistakes result in 98,000 deaths annually.
Because registered nurses (RNs) are often the last defense when it comes
to patient safety, a recent study examined the most common RN medication
errors. It revealed that mistakes most frequently involve cardiovascular
drugs, which accounted for 24.7 percent of all preventable errors. Other
drugs commonly involved in medication errors included antimicrobials (19.1
percent), electrolytes (11.3 percent), endocrine drugs (8.8 percent),
and analgesics (8.8 percent).
Medscape.com reports, the researchers also confirmed that RN medication errors are more likely
to occur in certain health settings. Medication errors occurred most frequently
in medical-surgical units (35.0 percent), followed by intensive care units
(ICU) (14.7 percent), and intermediate care units (13.3 percent).
Overall, ten percent of the medication errors resulted in patient harm.
An additional 11 percent required increased patient monitoring. The most
common drugs associated with nursing medication mistakes that harmed patients
were furosemide (34.6 percent), enoxaparin (29.7 percent), insulin (15.2
percent), and vancomycin (14.1 percent).
"Nurses play a critical role in patient safety and carry an ultimate
responsibility for preventing MEs," study lead author Maki Muroi,
RN, from the School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada
Las Vegas, wrote. "Providing nurses with [a] supportive work environment,
resources for continuing education and training, and effective use of
ME incident reports may help deliver effective and safe medication practice."
If you or someone you love has suffered serious harm due to a nursing medical
error, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.