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Safety Risk Assessment: Medication Errors


Medical errors are among the most common causes of iatrogenic negative outcomes in the healthcare sector (Ahmed et al., 2019). Medical errors occur when a medical officer incorrectly diagnoses or treats a disease, syndrome, behavior, injury, infection, or some ailments. Ahmed et al. (2019) further add that medical errors occur due to failure to accomplish the set objectives or when a wrong plan is used to achieve an objective. Medical errors lead to an increase in infection or death of individual patients when not recognized at an earlier stage by the doctor. The errors can occur in all healthcare settings like hospitals, surgery centers, medical offices, nursing homes, patients’ homes, and pharmacies (Kalra, 2014). As such, healthcare providers must become more careful when delivering medical services to mitigate the chances of medical errors occurrence.

To mitigate the occurrence of medical errors, there is a need to first understand its causes. This report aims to enlighten nurse managers on how to reduce the number of medical errors made by new employees concerning medication. First, the report discusses the most frequent causes and incidence rate of medication errors at a medical facility. Further, the report presents a plan for identifying and implementing a plan to reduce medical errors as well as to measure the plan’s outcome. Furthermore, a rationale for minimizing errors is provided. Lastly, actions that nurses should take to help with medical errors reduction are highlighted.

Frequent Causes and Incidence rate of Medication Errors in the Medical Facility

Improper dosing has become the major and frequent cause of medical errors. It occurs when the doctor issues less or higher amounts of drugs to a patient making the patient’s sickness escalate (Rodziewicz et al., 2021). Improper dosing also occurs when the patient is hospitalized, and at the same time, the medical prescription is in the process. Another cause of the medical error is the prescription error which occurs when the doctor prescribes the wrong medication without considering the allergic reaction and the interaction with other drugs. Furthermore, poor communication between doctors has led to increased medical errors (Farzi et al., 2017). Doctors tend to assume that their fellow can pick the medication plans from where they left without giving them clear guidelines. It also occurs when poor coordination of medical orders flows from the management to the general staff (Farzi et al., 2017). Lack of appropriate communication test results has become an issue where the doctor wits for the lab result to proceed with the treatment plans.

Patient mix-ups have led to the emergence of errors in the hospital setting (Mosedale & Blackie, 2021). Hospitals lack enough medical facilities, leading to the mixing of the patients resulting in difficulties in identifying the patients regardless of organized health records. The doctors, therefore, are confused about issuing medications intended for someone else illness to another patient leading to the development of dire consequences. Also, treatment of the patient as a group escalates the frequency of making medical errors by medical practitioners. Furthermore, technical failures and inadequate policies have led to increased medical errors in the medical field. The medical devices may fail or disintegrate into pieces, risking the patient’s life.

The incidence rate of medical errors has increased in percentage regardless of a country’s level of income. In the US, medical errors are the leading cause of death, with roughly 25,000 deaths annually. On the other hand, medical errors in Middle Eastern nations range between 11% and 90% (Wondmieneh et al., 2020). The authors further revealed that medical errors are associated with significant health costs. The cost of medical errors is approximated to be US$42 billion annually. Such a significant number indicates an increased incidence of medical errors.

A Plan to Reduce the Medication Errors

To reduce medication errors, a proper plan must be identified and implemented, and their outcome measured. The identification of an effective plan to reduce medication errors involves testing the validity of the health care to evaluate success signs, progress, or the determination of challenges for improvement needs. Through continuous assessment, more causes of medical errors will be identified and best plans to deal with these causes devised. On the other hand, implementation involves integrating the knowledge from learning by adjusting goals to improve the conditions. It also involves changing methods of medication by formulating interventions (Bailie et al., 2017). To ensure Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), medical officers should evaluate the progress of the plan. For instance, medical officers can assess the number of patients who lose their lives as a result of medical errors and determine the progress of the implemented plan to see if it is effective or not. If the plan is not effective, it can be amended to ensure it is as effective as possible. Moreover, measuring the plan to reduce the medical error involves identifying the opportunity and planning for the immediate encounters hence preventing the escalation of deteriorating medical conditions (Bailie et al., 2017). Medical officers can identify any opportunities of the implemented plan and utilize them to enhance the reduction of medical errors.

The Rationale for Reducing the Errors

There are many reasons why medical errors should be reduced. One major reason for reducing medical errors is to reduce the number of deaths resulting from such errors. Kavanagh et al. (2017) reveal that over 200,000 patients in US hospitals die every year due to medical errors. Another reason for reducing medical errors is to lower the cost associated with these errors. Rodziewicz et al. (2021) reveal that preventable medical errors contribute significantly towards increased health costs, such as higher health insurance costs. Lastly, nurses need to reduce medical errors to enhance patient safety. According to Wondmieneh et al. (2020), medical errors pose severe health consequences to patients.

Nurses’ Actions to Reduce Medical Errors

One way through which nurses cab reduce medical errors is by acting professionally. According to Salar et al. (2020), acting professionally include reading drug labels, acquiring continuous professional development, and striving to prevent medication errors. Also, nurses can reduce medical errors by keeping high-risk medications separate (Salar et al., 2020). Nurses need to keep high-risk medications separately since these medicines have a very high potential of causing patient harm or even death when used erroneously.


Kalra, J. (2004). Medical errors: an introduction to concepts. Clinical biochemistry37(12), 1043-1051.

Pierluissi, E., Fischer, M. A., Campbell, A. R., & Landefeld, C. S. (2003). Discussion of medical errors in morbidity and mortality conferences. Jama290(21), 2838-2842.

Chiozza, M. L., & Ponzetti, C. (2009). FMEA: a model for reducing medical errors. Clinica chimica acta404(1), 75-78.

Bailie, R., Bailie, J., Larkins, S., & Broughton, E. (2017). Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)—advancing Understanding of design, application, impact, and Evaluation of CQI approaches. Frontiers in Public Health5, 306.

Zineldin, M., Zineldin, J., & Vasicheva, V. (2014). Approaches for reducing medical errors and increasing patient safety: TRM, quality, and 5 Qs method. The TQM Journal.

Williams, D. J. (2007). Medication errors. Journal-Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh37(4), 343.


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