Factors contributing to medication errors: a literature review

AUTHORS:

Ellen O’Shea BNS, DipN, RGN, RNT

 

Drug administration is an integral part of the nurse’s role. Responsibility for correct administration of medication rests with the nurse, yet medication errors are a persistent problem associated with nursing practice.

This review examines what constitutes a medication error and documents contributory factors in medication errors. These factors have been derived from reported medication errors and opinions of nurses as to factors which predispose to errors.

A number of definitions exist as to what constitutes a medication error. The definition used should facilitate interpretation and comparison of a wide range of research reports.

Medication errors are a multidisciplinary problem and a multidisciplinary approach is required in order to reduce the incidence of errors.

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