Thursday, April 29, 2010

We've Said it Before... Nurse Interruptions Can Lead to Medication Errors

Interviewed about a new study just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, INQRI researcher Linda Flynn is quoted as saying, "Patients and family members don't understand that it's dangerous to patient safety to interrupt nurses while they're working.  I have seen my own family members go out and interrupt the nurse when she's standing at a medication cart to ask for an extra towel or something [else] inappropriate."

The study found that nurses who are interrupted have an increased risk of making a medication error.  The research team observed nurses in two teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia from September 2006 through March 2008.  The study included 98 nurses prepping and administering 4,271 medications to 720 patients.  Less than 20% of these interactions was completely error free.

You can download a copy of the study, "Association of Interruptions With an Increased Risk and Severity of Medication Administration Errors"  via the journal website.

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