Millions of injuries occur every year due to medication errors. It is also known that at least one death occurs every day due to a medication error. By exploring the factors leading to these errors, changes can be made to both medical practice and the teaching curriculum, researchers say.
By Tabatha Teal
Despite numerous research studies with practicing healthcare providers, the number of medication errors continues to climb each year, putting patient safety at risk. Research into student-made errors may expose new contributing factors and allow for changes to be made to the curriculum.
A recent study, published in the International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, explored variables contributing to medication errors made by nursing students. Over a two-year time span, 113 students completed post-error surveys, which were then analyzed for factors that possibly contributed to medication errors.
The study found that students reported more errors occurred in a hospital setting, compared to a simulated environment. This may be because, in a simulated environment, students have more time to process information and talk through their decision. In a hospital setting, students experience physical stressors that may contribute to making errors. These stressors include the high workload, patient census, lack of sleep before clinical encounters, intimidating behaviors within the hospital environment, and the stress of an unfamiliar environment.
Despite new practices and safety checks being put in place every year, the number of medical errors will continue to rise if changes to the curriculum are not made. According to the researchers from the University of Arkansas, “Students need to learn how to properly implement patient safety skills in a safe environment, such as a simulated environment. Educators must provide avenues where students feel safe and confident to report errors so we may continue to learn how to prevent them from occurring.”
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