Keeping Drug Safety in Mind

RGN and Midwives are accountable for their actions AND omissions when administering any form of drugs or medicines. They now have to comply with the NMC's code of conduct (THE CODE)

Mistake are made - but the key is learning from those mistakes, eradicating them to ensure they are not repeated -improving your nursing practice

Findings by the NMC identify 2 key areas of drug errors:

Human factors: Humans, by their very nature make mistakes The environment where we work, the 'culture' of the workplace and colleague behaviour towards us can effect our ability too perform duties effectively and safely. Human factors include 

Never events:Never events are preventable mistakes categorised by the Department of Health (NEVER EVENTS )

Avoiding Drug Administration/calculation errors

Drug administration errors can occur due to the following reasons:

    • Low staffing levels
    • Tiredness and stress
    • Calculation errors
    • Doctor Handwriting- illegible prescriptions
    • Complacency
    • Lack of training

Before administering any medication- ensure you understand the adverse effects of the medication as well as the correct dosage required: refer to the British Formulary Society for more information (BNF)

Different Food groups interact with an administered drug so do also bear this in mind eg:

Garlic: Interacts with anticoagulants

Graprefruit: Interacts with nimodipine

Soya: Interacts with warfarin


To minimise drug administration errors remember these 5 rights of drug medication administration:

    1. Right Drug
    2. Right Patient
    3. Right dose
    4. Right route
    5. Right time

These 5 core 'rights' have been expanded to include:

    • Right documentation
    • Right client education
    • Right to refuse
    • Right assessment
    • Right evaluation