A Novel Approach to Reducing RN Distraction During Medication Access

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Use of a noise-reducing headset to decrease distractions at medication stations was evaluated. Observational data demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in the frequency with which RNs were visibly distracted when using the headset.IntroductionContributing factors to medication errors include distractions, lack of focus, and failure to follow standard operating procedures. Passive interventions such as No Interruption Zones (NIZs) are intended to limit RN distraction while accessing medications; however, these interventions are often ignored.PurposeThis study evaluated a novel approach to reduce noise distraction exposure at medication access stations by using a noise-reducing headset.MethodFor this observational study, potential distractions and distracted states were coded and compared from pre-interventional observations and post-interventional observations.FindingsOf 206 observations (149 pre-implementation and 57 post-implementation), some form of potential distraction occurred 86% (n=177) of the time at the medication access station. Analysis demonstrated visibly distracted states decreased 61% (49.6% to 19.23%) with use of the headset (n=72); the difference was statistically significant (p<0.05).ConclusionThis is the first known study that evaluated an active approach to reducing distractions at medication access stations through use of a headset. Results suggested the device could keep RNs from being distracted at medication access stations.

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