Registered nurses (RNs) play an important role in safe medication administration and patient safety. A new study, published online in Applied Nursing Research, found that medication errors involving registered nurses are common, with high risk drugs (cardiovascular drugs, antimicrobials, and electrolytes) associated with increased medication errors. Certain hospital units (medical-surgical unit and ICU) were also associated with an increased medication errors compared to other hospital units. The study examined a total of 1276 medication error (ME) incident reports made by RNs in hospital inpatient settings in the southwestern region of the United States. The most common drug class associated with MEs was cardiovascular drugs (24.7%). Among this class, anticoagulants had the most errors (11.3%). The antimicrobials was the second most common drug class associated with errors (19.1%) and vancomycin was the most common antimicrobial that caused errors in this category (6.1%). MEs occurred more frequently in the medical-surgical and intensive care units than any other hospital units. Ten percent of MEs reached the patients with harm and 11% reached the patients with increased monitoring.
Read more: Association of medication errors with drug classifications, clinical units, and consequence of errors: Are they related?. Applied Nursing Research.