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Ensuring Safe Medication Administration through Direct Observation

Background and Objectives: A medication administration process was examined within a university affiliated pediatric hospital. Areas for future improvement will be identified in order to enhance medication practices and ensure the safety of patients during a medication administration.

Methods: To evaluate the effectiveness of the medication administration process in regards to patient safety and quality assurance, a direct observation study of inpatient units was conducted. The outcomes of this study address labeling medication, patient identifiers, the Five Rights of medication administration , the use of nursing staff worksheets, double checks , and the presence of distractions and interruptions during the medication administration process.

Results: From the 60 observations, information was collected and then analyzed both quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The numerical outcomes are shown in the following graphs and the data are discussed at length. The data identify areas where improvements can be made to ensure safe medication administration.

Conclusions: This study provides a first step towards making quality changes to ensure the safety of patients during a medication administration. In order to draw more conclusive results, collection of data would need to take place over a prolonged period of time with a sample population proportionate to the institution.


Katelyn Young,Katie Cochran, Mei Mei, Karen Adkins-Bley, Scott Ciarkowski, Deborah Wagner

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