Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Collaboration, Communication Needed Between Nursing, Pharmacy Staff

Medication management decisions must be made with clear communication and collaboration between the nursing and pharmacy departments to avoid errors and negative patient outcomes, according to a recent Advanced Healthcare Network for Nurses article written by Executive Nurse Consultants Robin Fowler and Kevon Garrison of Aesynt, a company providing pharmacy automation technology and systems. Additionally, each hospital must find a medication distribution model that fits with its workflow and nurse leaders should have a strong voice in its selection. They write:

“The use of pharmacy technology is important to strategically improving the medication management process, but if decisions are made without nursing input, there can be unforeseen consequences. ... When the pharmacy and nursing departments meet frequently and all stakeholders are focused on the same end-goal, the outcome is a medication management model that produces fewer errors, greater efficiency and better patient outcomes.”

An INQRI-funded study examined acute care hospitals to determine the relationships among characteristics of the nursing practice environment, nurse staffing levels, nurses’ error interception practices, and rates of nonintercepted medication errors. The study, “Nurses’ Practice Environments, Error Interception Practices, and Inpatient Medication Errors,” was published in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Nursing Scholarship and found that nurses’ error interception practices are associated with lower rates of nonintercepted medication errors.

The INQRI study also found that a supportive practice environment—reflected in factors including teamwork and nurses’ opportunities to participate in hospital- and unit-level decisions—is associated with a higher quality of nursing care.

The study was conducted in a sample of 82 medical-surgical units recruited from 14 U.S. acute care hospitals in New Jersey, and included 686 registered nurses.Linda Flynn and Dong-Churl Suh led the research.

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