June 24, 2004
Med Administration Errors
Tonight I went to a med follow-up class which is required by the company I work for on the weekends. I work for a group home and part of my duties is to administer medications to the people who live there. There are specific requirements we have to go through in order to pass meds. First there is basic med administration training. Then after a month there is a supervised med pass at the house we are working at by a nurse. If that goes ok, then we are allowed to start passing meds. After a period of time there is a med follow-up class taught by a nurse to make sure we are doing it correctly.
The med follow-up class is part instruction, then a test. Thankfully on the test I caught all of the built-in errors and responded appropriately for given situation. When we give medications there is definitely a proper procedure we are required to follow. Each time we give a medication we have to check for the 6 rights of med administration: The right person, the right medication, the right strength/dosage, the right mode of administration, the right time and the right documentation. We have to check these before we take the med out of the package, and after we take it out to re-verify what we just took out. Then we give the med and document that it was taken.
The built-in errors in the test were meant to see how we would respond to those situations. That reminded me of an observation I had over the last few months. I see that the real danger in passing medications doesnít have so much to do with the med itself, but more with complacency.
When we are doing something every day, we get used to the routine. We are familiar with the meds and the people and we do what we know has to be done. Often shortcuts are taken because we are satisfied with what we are doing and how we are doing it. That usually works but sometimes there is a danger involved and an error is not caught because we followed our normal routine.
A real world example might be this: Every day at 7am Mary takes 100mg of a specific medication. The morning staff person comes in, gives the medications for 4 different people, gives baths, makes breakfast, helps them get dressed, makes sure they wash their hands, helps them shave, and so on. During the previous shift this particular medication of Mary's ran out and a new bottle was picked up at the drug store. The staff person picking up the med did not notice that the strength on the bottle was now 75mg. instead of 100mg. Everything else was the same. The bottle looked the same, the name on it was the same. The strength was different. The person giving the morning meds did not notice the change in strength and gave a lower dosage than originally prescribed. There is a med error that would have been caught if the 6 rights of med administration was followed with every med pass as required.
This is just an example to illustrate the point. Too often complacency can lead to problems. When a married couple becomes complacent in their relationship itís easy to forget about doing things that built the relationship in the first place, that made it so good.
When we get complacent spiritually, itís easy to forget what works and what doesnít work, and easy to stop doing the things that we know are right. Frankly there is a lot going on in life and we tend to take shortcuts but in doing so, itís easy to overlook something important and essential. Itís easy to be smug in our knowledge and routine and not even realize we are missing something.
As we are going about our daily routines, itís helpful to look at life freshly to make sure we are doing what we know works, and is required of us. When we are complacent it's easy to overlook treat others with respect and love, or easy to not be as honest or forget to pray and talk to God on a regular basis. Sometimes we become complacent, smug in our set routines and attitudes. Complacency often is not a problem until there is an error, then we look back and feel foolish for missing it.
Life in this bodily form is very short. Live it fresh each day, with eyes for what works, like the set of 6 rights. Right person, right intentions, right heart, right attitude, right thoughts, right actions. I just made those up, but you get the idea. You can make your own checks. Live life intentionally and with awareness. Complacency has no place in a fresh new look at how and what we are doing each day.
Posted by carl1236 at June 24, 2004 11:13 PM
Posted by: sisukuma at October 10, 2006 10:32 AM