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Should drug administration involve two nurses?

  • Comments (38)

In our practice comment this week Jennifer Kelly states that hospitalised patients with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) are three times more likely to suffer medicine administration errors (MAEs) than patients without dysphagia. Of greater concern is that the errors found were not minor.

She suggested that single-handed drug administration means that nurses are often unaware that they have made errors and so they are unable to correct or report them.

  • Comments (38)

Readers' comments (38)

  • Anonymous

    yes, I really wish we had the staff to have 2 on each drug-round, this would cut down on errors and give nurses more time to make sure patients took their medication. i find it very stressful having to give out medication with constant interruptions (despite tabards etc), the early morning ivabs and pre-op meds after a night shift. If we only have 2 trained nurses per shift then it would not be possible to have them both doing the drug round but no-one cares, it's too expensive to employ the right amount of nurses.

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  • Tinkerbell

    in an ideal world, but realistically ain't never gonna happen.

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  • Anonymous

    true tinkerbell. the only time that really happens if you have a student with you but then it takes longer as you got to explain drugs

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  • Tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 31-Dec-2012 2:03 pm

    yes and i once made a drug error whilst answering a students question whilst we were doing the drugs together, thankfully she pointed it out to me. Top marks to that student.

    Note to self: Always answer students questions once you have actually dispensed the meds with full concentration, it's so easy to make a drug error.

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  • We stopped having two to check drugs because research showed that it was more dangerous, as often neither took overall responsibility and each thinking the other had got it right. Surely we should we creating the environment for safe practice rather than trying to cover for stressed nurses, who in the right circumstances would not make errors

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  • Anonymous

    WOT? -- would that be one that can read and one that can count ? Big Problem!

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  • Anonymous

    I also prefer to do a drug round on my own. I concentrate much better. When there's two nurses, that's when mistakes take place. Too much chat etc.

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  • George Barnes

    We always used to have two nurses doing the medication round up until the mid 80's. One was the administration nurse and the other was the second checker and "runner." I do think it was better/safer to have a second nurse (didn't necessarily need to be an RN) but then sometimes "better practice" actually means "cheaper."

    Mind you we also used to have ward "domestics" that far back in time and the wards were definitely cleaner... I am sure that having contract cleaners leads to a better service - in terms of saving money! :-)

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  • Anonymous

    I find I concentrate better on my own and am fully in control and responsible for my actions but it would be good to have others to deal with the rest of the work during drug rounds so that you don't have constant interruptions. there is some research on how long it takes to return to concentrated effort after any interruption and this could be significant during activities requiring high concentration, accuracy and safety such as a drug round.

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  • Anonymous

    further to the above - interruptions during drug round simply should no be permitted except for emergencies when the trolley, cupboard or whatever can be shut down and left. it is far too dangerous.

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