Discussion: Avoiding Medication Errors

Discussion: Avoiding Medication Errors

Discussion: Avoiding Medication Errors

I need the introduction to be well stated, with three well defined sentences, (could have more sentences, but at least three) and the purpose statement be clearly defined and reflect the assignment criteria.

APA format

The tittle of the paper is “Avoiding Medication Errors as a new Nurse”

1 page

Please cite at least one of the attached articles; these will be the sources I use to write the paper. Feel free to cite any other source as long as it includes at least one of the articles provided.

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Medication Errors in the Emergency Department


Identification of the Problem

The promotion of patient safety is a priority for all health organizations globally. The World Health Organization recognizes this and urges all health organizations to embrace interventions that would promote patient safety in their settings. According to the WHO, patient safety refers to the lack of any preventable harm to patients alongside the reduction or prevention of unnecessary harm due to healthcare to the acceptable minimum (Mieiro et al., 2019). The realization of the desired patient safety goals is however hampered by the high incidences of medication errors in the emergency departments. The occurrence rate of medication errors in the emergency departments is at an alarming rate. It is estimated that the risk of a medication error occurring in such settings ranges between 4 and 14% (Di Simone et al., 2018).  Nurses have a critical role to play in the prevention and reduction of the medication errors in the emergency setting. They have the responsibility of adopting interventions  aimed at minimizing the issue due to their role in the administration of medications to patients. Therefore, this research paper provides a solution that can be adopted to address the issue of medication errors in the emergency department.

Importance and Relevance to Nursing

The issue of medication errors in the emergency department is relevant to nursing in a number of ways. As identified earlier, nurses are the main group of healthcare providers that is tasked with the responsibility of administration of medications. It therefore implies that nurses commit most of the medication errors that are reported in healthcare institutions. Promotion of patient safety through the prevention and minimization of medication errors is therefore important in their practice. Consequently, nurses need to investigate evidence-based interventions that can be used to address the issue of medication errors in their settings. Nurses and other healthcare providers also have the responsibility of creating an organizational culture where patient safety is prioritized. The creation of such culture depends largely on the level of awareness among the healthcare providers on the negative effects of errors and interventions to address them (Elden & Ismail, 2016). Therefore, the issue of medication errors becomes relevant for nursing since nurses have to play an active role in the collaborative identification of interventions to promote safety culture in their organizations.

Impact on Patient/Community

Medication errors have significant adverse outcomes on patients. The Institute of Medicine estimates that 44000 to 98000 patients lose their lives annually due to medication errors. In Italy, close to 320, 000 patients suffer from errors in institutions of healthcare (Di Simone et al., 2018). Statistics from the US reveal that at least 1.5 million people suffer injuries due to medication errors. The cost burden of medication errors in America is estimated to be USD 3.5 billion on a yearly basis (Shitu, Aung & Kamauzaman, 2020). The cost burden refers to the cost incurred by the patients due to unnecessary healthcare, and by the health organizations due to legal suits and over-utilization of the existing resources. The mortality rate due to medication errors is also high. Statistics reveal that medication errors contribute to approximately 7000 deaths in the US on an annual basis (Mieiro et al., 2019). Communities also suffer from medication errors. This can be seen from the loss of productivity among the affected members and use of community resources to meet the healthcare needs of the patients.

Literature Synthesis

Medication errors are one of the problems that health organizations face globally. The occurrence of medication errors is however higher in the emergency departments and critical units when compared to other departments in the hospital settings. As identified earlier, the risk of medication error occurring in the emergency department ranges between 4 and 14%. The high risk of medication error occurrence in these departments is attributed to a number of reasons. They include the high number of drugs that are administered to patients in this setting, large percentage of patients requiring emergency care, which increase the risk, and increased prevalence of chronic diseases in this department. There is also the evidence that the increased need for the staffs working in the emergency department to know about a large number of drugs predisposes them to committing medication errors (Di Simone et al., 2018).

The global prevalence of medication errors irrespective of the setting of occurrence is significantly high. According to Shitu et al. (2018), the global economic burden of medication errors is estimated to be USD 42billion on a yearly basis. Statistics from selected countries also reveal the existence of an alarming rate of medication errors. For example, drug-related adverse reactions have been estimated to be about 5-6% of all the hospitalizations in the UK. It is further estimated that medication errors affect about 10% of all the inpatients in the UK (Assiri et al., 2018). The prevalence of the issue in the Middle East countries is estimated to range between 7 and 90% (Vaziri et al., 2019). The cost of medication errors in the US is estimated to be USD 3.5billion on a yearly basis. The injuries due to medication errors are also estimated to affect about 1.5million people in the state (Shitu et al., 2018).

The adverse effects of medication errors are evident in studies. It predisposes patients to inquiries that increase their hospital stay. It is estimated that that medication errors increase the duration of patient hospitalization for about 2 days and additional cost of $2000-2500 for every patient. The mortality rate due to medication errors is also high. It is estimated that the US mortality rate due to it on a yearly basis is 7000 (Mieiro et al., 2019). Health organizations also suffer from the issue due to high costs incurred in providing patients with additional care alongside compensation claims due to legal cases.

Medication errors are however preventable. Nurses and other healthcare providers can adopt evidence-based interventions to prevent and minimize their occurrences in their settings. One of the strategies that can be utilized to address the issue of medication errors is the consideration of the right nine rules of drug administration. The rule asserts the need for nurses and other healthcare providers to focus on the nine rights or rules that include right medication, patient, route, time, dose, record, way, action, and right answer. These rights should inform safety protocols utilized in the emergency departments during drug administration (Mieiro et al., 2019).

Medication error-analysis has also been proposed as an effective way of preventing and minimizing medication errors in nursing. The strategy entails the use of reported medication errors as valuable learning tools to improve the quality of care and minimize their occurrence. It works by increasing the reporting of medication errors and transparency in medication administration (Holmström, 2017). Health information technologies such as computerized provider-order systems also prevent and minimize the rate of medication errors in the emergency departments. It addresses it by eliminating any possible errors that result from verbal and handwritten orders by ensuring that orders are entered into a computerized system. An effective use of these systems has been shown to result in a reduction in the prevalence of medication errors in nursing practice (Kim & Lee, 2020). Therefore, health organizations should select the most effective strategy that addresses their safety needs.

Proposal for Using Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice interventions should be utilized to address the issue of medication errors in the emergency department. A number of evidence-based interventions that can be utilized to solve the issue exist. However, the provision of education to nurses on ways of preventing and limiting medication errors is proposed for use in our health organization. The effectiveness of any intervention that aims at reducing the rates and risks of medication errors depends largely on the level of awareness among the healthcare providers. It therefore proves important that the first focus of addressing the issue of medication errors should be on imparting the healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills of preventing medication errors in their practice (El Said et al., 2020). Insufficient knowledge plays a critical role in contributing to the high rate of medication errors. It is important that nurses and other healthcare providers be trained on the use of new medications, their indications, side, and adverse effects. The provision of educational opportunities to nurses on medicine use and administration has been shown to result in significant improvement in medication errors during pre and post-implementation stages in research (Irajpour et al., 2019;  Di Simone et al., 2018). Consequently, it is anticipated that the provision of educational opportunities to nurses working in the emergency department will result in a significant reduction in the reported incidences of medication errors.

The proposed provision of educational opportunities to the nurses and other healthcare providers will be undertaken in the emergency department in our hospital. The educational program will target all the healthcare providers who offer their services in the department. They will include the nurses and physicians who are often involved in the prescription and administration of the medications. Additional stakeholders who will be involved in the educational program will include the nurse managers, leaders, and health administrators. The program will be initiated next month. The main reason for implementing the project is to equip the nurses and the other healthcare providers on medication errors and ways of preventing them in their practice.

The effectiveness of the project will be done five months after the healthcare workers have been trained on medication errors and ways of preventing them. The evaluation process will focus on outcomes that relate to the project. The outcomes will be the number of medication errors that were reported after the implementation of the project. The numbers will be compared to those reported initially before project implementation. The comparative data will provide an accurate assessment of the effectiveness of educational programs in reducing and preventing medication errors.


Overall, medication errors in the emergency departments should be prevented or minimized. Medication errors have significant adverse health outcomes. They include increased costs of healthcare incurred by the patients and health organizations, extended hospital stay, injuries, and mortalities. Medication errors can however be prevented or minimized. One of the ways is through the provision of educational opportunities to the nurses and physicians working in the emergency departments. Education increases their level of awareness about the various issues contributing to medication errors and ways of preventing them.




Assiri, G. A., Shebl, N. A., Mahmoud, M. A., Aloudah, N., Grant, E., Aljadhey, H., & Sheikh, A. (2018). What is the epidemiology of medication errors, error-related adverse events and risk factors for errors in adults managed in community care contexts? A systematic review of the international literature. BMJ open8(5).

Di Simone, E., Giannetta, N., Auddino, F., Cicotto, A., Grilli, D., & Di Muzio, M. (2018). Medication errors in the emergency department: Knowledge, attitude, behavior, and training needs of nurses. Indian journal of critical care medicine: peer-reviewed, official publication of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine22(5), 346.

El Said, S. M. S., Amin, G. E. E. D., Helal, E. M. B., Radwan, R. S. A., & Wahba, H. M. (2020). The effect of a tailored health education programme on medication management in the elderly. The Scientific World Journal2020.

Elden, N. M. K., & Ismail, A. (2016). The importance of medication errors reporting in improving the quality of clinical care services. Global journal of health science8(8), 243.

Holmström, A. R. (2017). Learning from Medication Errors in Healthcare: How to Make Medication Error Reporting Systems Work?.

Irajpour, A., Farzi, S., Saghaei, M., & Ravaghi, H. (2019). Effect of interprofessional education of medication safety program on the medication error of physicians and nurses in the intensive care units. Journal of Education and Health Promotion8.

Kim, K., & Lee, I. (2020). Medication error encouragement training: A quasi-experimental study. Nurse education today84, 104250.

Mieiro, D. B., Oliveira, É. B. C. D., Fonseca, R. E. P. D., Mininel, V. A., Zem-Mascarenhas, S. H., & Machado, R. C. (2019). Strategies to minimize medication errors in emergency units: an integrative review. Revista brasileira de enfermagem72, 307-314.

Shitu, Z., Aung, M. M. T., & Kamauzaman, T. H. T. (2020). Prevalence and characteristics of medication errors at an emergency department of a teaching hospital in Malaysia. BMC Health Services Research20(1), 1-7.

Vaziri, S., Fakouri, F., Mirzaei, M., Afsharian, M., Azizi, M., & Arab-Zozani, M. (2019). Prevalence of medical errors in Iran: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC health services research19(1), 1-11.