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Analysis

How to avoid medication errors – and what to do if you make one

Advice for nurses on common mistakes, potential consequences and methods to employ to improve patient safety, plus the importance of transparency if an error occurs

Advice for nurses on common mistakes, potential consequences and methods to employ to improve patient safety, plus the importance of transparency if an error occurs

  • An estimated 237 million medication errors occur every year in England’s NHS alone, while 712 deaths annually result from avoidable drug reactions
  • The three most common types of error involve strength and frequency of dose, missing a dose, and the wrong medicine being administered
  • If a medication error is made, nurses have a duty of candour and should take appropriate action immediately

The case of a US nurse found guilty of criminally negligent homicide after administering the wrong drug to a patient would make any nurse shudder.

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