Medical Mistakes, Medication Errors Increase When Nurses Interrupted: Study
Researchers have found that distracted nurses are more prone to make medical mistakes and prescription errors, supporting arguments that having more nurses on staff, able to focus their attention on fewer tasks, could increase patient safety and reduce the risk of medical malpractice.
The study was published in the April 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine and was conducted by researchers in Australia. The findings not only suggest the benefit of high nurse staffing levels, but also serve as a warning to family members and friends not to disturb nurses while visiting hospital patients.
Researchers performed an observational study of nurses at six wards in two major teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia. They observed 98 nurses administering 4,271 medications to 720 patients from September 2006 through March 2008.
Did You Know?
Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled
Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.Learn More
The findings indicate that each time a nurse was interrupted; it increased the chance of a procedural failure by 12.1%, and the chances of a clinical error by 12.7%. Researchers said that the association between interruptions and errors were directly correlated and independent of medical facility where the interruption occurred. The more distractions there were the more mistakes the nurses made.
Researchers said they were surprised by the number of medication mistakes being made by nurses, with or without distractions, only about 20% of medication administrations were both procedurally and clinically free of errors.
“Our data confirm conclusions from a review published recently by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that the rate of medication administration errors is ‘truly staggering,’” researchers said. “Our results elevate the importance of interruptions as a contributor to medication errors in hospitals and provide a direction for prevention strategies and further research.”
Overall, most of the medication errors were found to be insignificant. However, 2.7% of the medication errors made by distracted nurses were rated as major mistakes.
Not checking the patient’s identification to make sure that they had the right medical chart was the most common procedural failure, which occurred frequently, regardless of distractions. Giving medications at the wrong time was the most frequent clinical mistake, followed administering IVs at the wrong rate.
jimApril 30, 2010 at 2:45 pm
To date, I have adjusted claims for 25 years and discovered over 18 different Rx errors. Most are related to fatigue, concentration, rushing around, poor communication and bad handwriting. Nursing is the last stop before the mistake and better staffing would curtail this problem. Pay the money there to cut fatigue, increase focus and give the drug a last double take prior to delivery. A Good id[Show More]To date, I have adjusted claims for 25 years and discovered over 18 different Rx errors. Most are related to fatigue, concentration, rushing around, poor communication and bad handwriting. Nursing is the last stop before the mistake and better staffing would curtail this problem. Pay the money there to cut fatigue, increase focus and give the drug a last double take prior to delivery. A Good idea? It is always America's fall back position after we try all other options.
"*" indicates required fields
More Top Stories
Although Suboxone settlements have been paid to resolve antitrust violations, users who suffered damages due to tooth decay from Suboxone film must pursue individual product liability lawsuits
With thousands of Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in the federal court system, a fourth bellwether trial will be held in the spring, involving allegations that defects with Bard 3DMax caused painful and permanent injuries.
A Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit accuses the manufacturer of failing to warn doctors to conduct hearing tests, which could have helped a woman avoid permanent hearing damage.