Addressing Medication Errors in Nursing: Enhancing Patient Safety for Older Adults - Paper Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1058 Words
Date:  2024-01-27

Nurses play a major role in providing and improving health. However, medication errors have become some of the most life-threatening mistakes that affect patient care and continue to be a major factor associated with mortality in older people. Various mistakes caused by nurses while attending to older people have become some of the global issues that increase death rate, length of hospital stay, and related expenses. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine (2016), 64.5% of nurses in America have caused medication errors that lead to severe consequences while attending to older people. Recent studies reveal that medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the US, surpassing other chronic diseases (WHO 2017). In nursing, the most reported errors in older people were wrong infusion rate and dosage. In most cases, nurses use the wrong abbreviations instead of the full names of the medicine, leading to confusion if there are other drugs with similar names. As a result, it indicates that a lack of pharmacological knowledge is a major issue affecting nurses and leads to the wrong healthcare services administration.

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Medication errors in nursing are a significant issue in healthcare today, and addressing them would reduce high medical costs incurred by older people, and the mortality rate reported over the years. According to John Hopkins Medicine (2016), one in 7 patients has experienced medical errors due to nurses administering the wrong medicine. Nurses attend to the old in different places such as nursing homes, and patients’ homes, and some provide home care services. As a result, nurses interact with older people in different situations, which shows the significance of healthcare. Solving the issue by studying the mistakes and learning how to prevent, monitor, and respond is a significant aspect that would improve healthcare standards. Also, eliminating medical errors would ensure the protection of healthcare systems, and nurses can safeguard the lives of older people and lead to low costs.

Different methods are available and would lead to the effective evaluation of medical errors. According to Wright & Khatri (2015), reporting errors is a significant strategy that allows prevention and minimizes adverse events that might cause death. The two major methods of evaluating a medical error would entail assessing the last prescription and the dosage administered to a patient. Wright & Khatri (2015) observed that medical errors in nursing are inevitable and are more prevalent while attending to older patients. Older people are affected by medical errors which can have a disastrous impact on the patient, the practitioner, and the institution. Many patients, especially older people, die due to errors caused by medical practitioners, which leads to severe implications for the families affected.

Various intervention methods are available for incorporation to solve a medical error caused by a nurse. For instance, getting pharmacists involved in the direct treatment of an older person would establish the type of medication administered. Safarpour et al. (2019) observed that miscommunication among health practitioners is the biggest contributor to medical errors. As a result, it causes major injuries and deaths in older people. A pharmacist can intervene by using various tools such as worksheets that would provide direct information regarding administering different drugs by a nurse. As a result, it would allow the detection of medication errors such as the wrong dosage or overdosage administered to an older person.

The intervention measures provide significant benefits in addressing a medical error and arresting the situation to prevent mortality. Involving a pharmacist ensures that the practitioner can identify the issue and repair the damage before it becomes severe (Noland & Carmack, 2015). As a result, it minimizes denial and defense that would affect the credibility of the services offered by the institution. Early involvement of a pharmacist allows early reporting hence providing for analysis of adverse events. Adopting a handoff conversation between the patient and the practitioner would determine the medication administered and detect errors. Koehn et al. (2016) argue that healthcare providers can use checklists to determine if there is something missed and detect mistakes, if any. Adopting a handoff conversation allows the full explanation of the issue that would lead to early intervention. As a result, healthcare providers can start rectifying the error to avert further damages.

Eradicating medical errors in nursing, especially when handling older patients, would require nurses to hold nurses accountable for their performance. Accountability would lead to a significant step in minimizing reckless acts in the administration of healthcare services. According to Bari et al. (2016), various medical errors arise from cognitive and behavioral adaptations. As a result, the execution of medical orders is a significant aspect of patient care that would prevent medical errors. It would also act as a major component of nursing performance, which would instill patient safety when attending to older people. Medical errors can lead to adverse implications such as increased mortality, medical costs, and long duration of hospitalization. Different healthcare providers can cause different medical errors, which might affect the institution, patient, and practitioner. Providing sufficient nursing training would allow effective patient identification and prevent inadequate patient assessment that might cause medical errors.


Bari, A., Khan, R. A., & Rathore, A. W. (2016). Medical errors; causes, consequences, emotional response, and resulting behavioral change. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 32(3), 523. doi: 10.12669/pjms.323.9701

John Hopkins Medicine. (2016). Study suggests medical errors now third leading cause of death in the U.S. John Hopkins Medicine.

Koehn, A. R., Ebright, P. R., & Draucker, C. B. (2016). Nurses' experiences with errors in nursing. Nursing Outlook, 64(6), 566-574.

Noland, C. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2015). “You never forget your first mistake”: Nursing socialization, memorable messages, and communication about medical errors. Health Communication, 30(12), 1234-1244.

Safarpour, H., Tofighi, M., Malekyan, L., Bazyar, J., Varasteh, S., & Anvary, R. (2017). Patient safety attitudes, skills, knowledge, and barriers related to reporting medical errors by nursing students. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(01), 1-11. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2017.81001

World Health Organization (WHO). (2017, March 2019). WHO launches global effort to have medication-related errors in 5 years. WHO.

Wright, W., & Khatri, N. (2015). Bullying among nursing staff: Relationship with psychological/behavioral responses of nurses and medical errors. Healthcare Management Review, 40(2), 139-147. doi: 10.1097/HMR.0000000000000015

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Addressing Medication Errors in Nursing: Enhancing Patient Safety for Older Adults - Paper Sample. (2024, Jan 27). Retrieved from

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