Evaluation of nurses' errors associated in the preparation and administration of medication in a pediatric intensive care unit.
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The objectives of this study were to determine the frequency and thetypes of errors which occur regarding the preparation and the administrationof medication and to identify the main causes of these errors in a pediatricintensive care unit (PICU) at the University Hospital in Lausanne(Switzerland). In this prospective study, based on the observationof nurses' activities, the data were collected over a period of 10 weeks.The error classification was based on the American Society of HospitalPharmacy (ASHP) definitions.
The frequency of errors wascalculated as the sum of all noted errors divided by the total administereddrugs, plus the sum of all omitted drugs, multiplied by 100. The sum of allgiven doses plus all omitted doses gives the 'total opportunity for errors'.This total was 275 and the total frequency of errors was 26.9%. Themost frequent errors were wrong-time errors (32.4%),wrong-administration-technique errors (32.4%) andpreparation errors (23.0%).
In relation with other studiesconducted under comparable conditions, a lesser number of omissions andwrong-time errors were observed. On the contrary, administration-techniqueand dose-preparation errors were more frequent at our hospital.
A program ofsystematic assistance and survey by professional pharmacists could improvethe quality of the preparation and administration of medication in the PICU.
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