Nurses' Perceptions of Medication Errors

Monday, 7 July 2008
Li H. Lin, MS, RN , Department of Nursing, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
Sing-ling Tsai, RN, PhD , Nursing Department, Taipei Veteran General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: to investigate the perceptions of clinical nurses regarding the causes, the scenarios, and the reporting system of medication errors.

Learning Objective 2: to understand the reporting system for medication errors

The purposes of this study are to investigate the perceptions of clinical nurses regarding the causes, the scenarios, and the reporting system of medication errors.

There are four-self reported questionnaires employed, demographic features, nurse's perceptions of main causes of medication errors, nurses' responses to five patient medication scenarios, and nurses' perceptions of medication errors and reporting. The population of this project is 160 nurses working in a medical center located in Taiwan. The results of this study revels that " interrupted or distracted by other patientsAstaffs or unexpected events occurring in the unit when distributing medication" is the most common scenario related to the medication errors perceived by clinical nurses. The following scenarios related to the medication errors perceived by clinical nurses are: when nurses feel tired and exhausted, when the names of two medications are similar, and when the hand-writing order is difficult to recognize, or the description of computer order does not present the instruction clearly. The consistency of medication error judgment is low. The results of this project also indicate that in most medication error scenarios nurses will notify doctors to handle the situation, but will not file a medication error report, that being afraid of the pressure from nursing colleague and manager is a major reason than "to be disciplinary, or losing a job" for nurses not reporting a mediation error.

The findings of this study can be references for medication errors education and increasing the utilization of the reporting system.