Medication administration is highly important for the patients’ safety. It was estimated that medication errors are the most common type of mistakes in the healthcare system (Nanji, Vernest, Sims, & Levine, 2015). One of the reasons for such errors occurring in the wrong procedure of medication labeling (Mishra, 2014). To improve this situation, national standards for medication labeling were developed and introduced into the practice (The Joint Comission, 2015). Thus, drug labeling is the policy of medications, solutions, and container labeling which might lead to reducing the rate of medication errors in the nurse’s practice.
The quality and safety of medical care, among other issues, highly depends on the accuracy of healthcare workers. Medication errors are commonly spread type of human-factor medical mistakes. According to “About medication errors” (2017), this type of error could be defined as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer” (para. 2). Frequently, nurses are considered to be responsible for these errors because medication preparation is a part of their duties (Smeulers, Onderwater, Zwieten, & Vermeulen, 2014).
The most frequent medication errors are mistakes with drug name, concentration, and time of its injection. A nurse should be especially attentive and careful in a case if medication preparation (drug dissolving with the appropriate solvent to the appropriate concentration), according to a physician prescription, is required (Smeulers et al., 2014). One of the possible reasons for errors during drags preparation and injection is wrong medication labeling or label absence (Mishra, 2014). Thus, medication labeling policy is a possible solution to improve the situation and to reduce the rate of errors.
Medication Labeling Policy
National patient safety goals were established by the Joint Commission (2015). The third goal was dedicated to medication safety, in particular, to the medication labeling procedure. According to the standards, all medications, prepared solutions, and their containers (syringes, basins, and others) should be labeled immediately after transferring from the original package and/or preparation. The label should include the medication name, concentration, and expiration date and time. All the unlabeled medications should be discarded (The Joint Commission, 2015). This policy directly affected the nurse’s work because medication preparation and administration are parts of nurses’ duties.
It could be stated that this policy might reduce the frequency of medication errors. The clear standard procedure of labeling might be helpful in the nurses’ services quality improvement. However, another important issue should be considered. According to the standards, the procedure of labeling should be performed immediately. This procedure requires time and might decelerate a nurse’s work, which can be crucial in the case of an emergency. Therefore, it is essential to develop and introduce into practice the fast and efficient protocol of medication labeling (Nanji et al., 2015).
It could be concluded that medication errors are the most common in the healthcare system. Occasionally, these errors could lead to serious consequences for the patient’s health. The wrong procedure of drug labeling could be named as one of the reasons for these mistakes. Nurses are often considered to be responsible for medication errors because drug preparation is their direct duty. Therefore, to improve the quality and safety of nurses’ service, the standard procedure of drug labeling was developed. Medication labeling policy might be helpful to reduce the rate of errors. However, further improvement of the procedure efficiency should be provided.
About medication errors (2017). Web.
Mishra, S. (2014). Diversity in prescription and medication errors. International Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Science, 4(4), 39-45.
Nanji, K. C., Vernest, K. A., Sims, N. M., & Levine, W. D. (2015). Bar code-assisted medication labeling: A novel system to improve efficiency and patient safety. International Journal of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, 1(1), 1-6.
Smeulers, M., Onderwater, A. T., Zwieten, M. C., & Vermeulen, H. (2014). Nurses’ experiences and perspectives on medication safety practices: an explorative qualitative study. Journal of nursing management, 22(3), 276-285.
The Joint Commission. (2015). National patient safety goals effective. 2015. Web.
Medication Administration and Patient Safety