The Overlooked Impact of Medication Errors

In the world of healthcare, a medication error can make or break the lives of two people–the patient and the person who administered the drug (usually the nurse).

As a nurse, I always keep in mind the 5 Rights of Medication Administration: Right client, time, drug, dose, and route. Often times, I do more than double check before I administer any medication. While other situations accept mistakes, in terms of medications, they are simply a big NO.

It’s true. Nurses are considered one of the heroes of our society. However, just like everyone, they too commit mistakes.

Throughout the century and around the world, there have been countless cases of patients who are getting sicker or who died because of medication errors. Behind this scenario is a grieving person or a family who may have lost a loved one and who are bitter and angry at the person who committed the error.  Imagine them pointing a finger to the nurse and mouthing the word, ‘Murderer’.

Also behind this scenario is a healthcare practitioner who may have lost a license and a job and who is also devastated at how great the consequence is for a single error. Moreover, often overlooked is the social, mental, and emotional impact of this on the nurse. The aftermath of bringing harm to a person brought about by medication error can be truly devastating.

Here’s a touching story of a medication administration-gone-wrong that revealed the anguish of caregivers who make mistakes.
Kimberly Hiatt is a longtime critical care nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She committed suicide in April, seven months after accidentally overdosing a fragile baby.

Read more here: Full story

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