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Raja Lope RJ, Boo NY, Rohana J, Cheah FC
Correspondence: Dr Raja Juanita Raja Lope, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction This study aimed to determine the rates of non-adherence to standard steps of medication administration and medication administration errors committed by registered nurses in a neonatal intensive care unit before and after intervention.
Methods A baseline assessment of compliance with ten standard medication administration steps by neonatal intensive care unit nurses was carried out over a two-week period. Following this, a re-education programme was launched. Three months later, they were re-assessed similarly.
Results The baseline assessment showed that the nurses did not carry out at least one of the ten standard administrative steps during the administration of 188 medication doses. The most common steps omitted were having another nurse to witness drug administration (95 percent); labelling of individual medication prepared prior to administration (88 percent), checking prescription charts against patients’ identification prior to administration (85 percent) and visually inspecting a patient’s identification tag (71 percent). Medication administration errors occurred in 31 percent (59/188) of doses administered, all due to imprecise timing of medication administration. There were no resultant adverse outcomes. Following implementation of remedial measures, there was a significant reduction in non-adherence of seven of the ten medication administration steps and the rate of medication administration errors (p-value is less than 0.001). However, in 94 percent of doses administered, the nurses still did not get a witness to countercheck calculations of drug dosages before administration.
Conclusion Non-compliance with the standard practice of medication administration by nurses is common but can be improved by continuing re-education and monitoring, plus the implementation of a standard operating procedure.
Keywords: medication administration errors, medication errors, neonatal intensive care unit, quality assurance, standard operating procedure
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(1): 68-72