Pennsylvania Nurse 2019 Pennsylvania Nurse 74.1 - Page 19

that using this technique reduced the rate of medi- cation errors among all healthcare providers (Wang et al., 2015). This instrument is very efficient as it makes less than one error per million scans (Abuba- kar et al., 2014). However, it may be time-consuming as it increases the medication administration time (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). Electronic medication tracing systems, which are programs connected with pharmacy records and electronic nursing records, trace the progress of physicians’ orders (Wang et al., 2015). The system provides information about the starting and ending time of each dose, as well as the time of medication administration by the nurse. According to Wang et al. (2015), the system was efficient in handling urgent physicians’ orders in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine. It was equipped with an audio device which would sound out an alarm. The alarm would sound again 1 minute later if nursing staff did not respond. The STAT orders alarm would also sound in the inpatient pharmacy. (Wang et al., 2015, p. 396) According to Anderson and Townsend (2010), use of computerized physician order entry and barcodes may reduce errors by up to 50%. Policies and Protocol Modifications Staff education is important to increase nurses’ knowledge about medication. Managers must make sure that accurate and current resources are avail- able for nurses to check medication information (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). This information can come from protocols, textbooks, computerized drug information systems, or medication administration records (Abubakar et al., 2014). Web-based software with prescription screening and drug counseling can assist nurses in medication knowledge (Wang et al., 2015). In addition, staff continuing education courses, particularly regarding new medications to the facility, are one of the best ways to help in reduc- ing medication errors (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). It is important to provide nurses with knowledge about medication errors. Nurses with adequate and updated knowledge of the incidence and prevalence rates of internal and external medication errors have a better concept of avoiding them (Abubakar et al., 2014; Anderson & Townsend, 2010). Moreover, studies show that the availability of a pharmacist in the unit to provide consultations and educational sessions about medication, especially in intensive care and emergency departments, will help in decreasing medication error rates (Vazin et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2015). Recommendations 1. Nurses should be aware of policies or protocols related to medication administration. Nurse managers must communicate updates on policies or protocols related to medication to the staff (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). 2. Nurses should receive proper education to enhance medication management. This includes training the staff about prioritizing tasks, emphasizing the use of the five rights of medication, being alert to medication side effects, and stressing the value of double-checks, especially with high-alert medications (Anderson & Townsend, 2010; Wang et al., 2015). 3. Nurses must follow the Joint Commission guidelines to verify verbal or telephone medication orders (Anderson & Townsend, 2010). Issue 74, 1 2019 Pennsylvania Nurse 17