Medication administration in nursing programs is a key skill that nursing students must master prior to graduating and entering the nursing workforce. Lack of pharmacology knowledge, safety, and skill proficiency is detrimental to the safety and welfare of patients. At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing baccalaureate program nursing students have demonstrated a lack of performance of the medication administration process as evidenced by anecdotal feedback from students and faculty, and post course evaluations. The purpose of this study was to examine nursing students’ perceptions of their knowledge, skill proficiency, and safety during the medication administration process during the first year of nursing school with the intent of creating an instructional program that intends to improve nursing student performance. The conceptual framework utilized in this study was based upon the work of Benner and her attempt to capture skill competence and knowledge using the seven domains of nursing practice. The key research questions in this study focus on the students’ perceptions of required knowledge, skill proficiency, and faculty instruction before, during, and after medication administration instruction. Results from the study were very similar to other literature regarding student's experiences with medication administration. Themes identified throughout the study indicated that students lacked skill proficiency and knowledge related to stress factors that occur during the clinical shift, fear of making medication errors, lack of knowledge regarding pharmacology, the complexity of the patients and the medications that patients receive, and positive feedback regarding their clinical instructors and buddy nurses on the clinical units. Since medication administration skill instruction affects nursing students globally, implications from this study can be used to better understand how students perceive their training for the medication administration process. This affects social change from a local perspective as faculty can develop more effective ways to teach nursing students how to safely administer medications hence promoting safe and positive outcomes for patients receiving medications administered by nursing students.
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