Nurses' medication administration practices at two Singaporean acute care hospitals

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Abstract

This study examined registered nurses' overall compliance with accepted medication administration procedures, and explored the distractions they faced during medication administration at two acute care hospitals in Singapore. A total of 140 registered nurses, 70 from each hospital, participated in the study. At both hospitals, nurses were distracted by personnel, such as physicians, radiographers, patients not under their care, and telephone calls, during medication rounds. Deviations from accepted medication procedures were observed. At one hospital, the use of a vest during medication administration alone was not effective in avoiding distractions during medication administration. Environmental factors and distractions can impact on the safe administration of medications, because they not only impair nurses' level of concentration, but also add to their work pressure. Attention should be placed on eliminating distractions through the use of appropriate strategies. Strategies that could be considered include the conduct of education sessions with health professionals and patients about the importance of not interrupting nurses while they are administering medications, and changes in work design.

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