Nursing 6 Rights Poster

The “Rights” of Medication Administration
September 17, 2015 – 09:21 am

By, BSN, RNNurses give meds. It is one of the most routine, daily duties for nurses working in a direct care setting. It is sometimes a tedious job, and can take hours from start to finish. And when you turn around, it’s time to give some more.

It’s not just the actual giving of the medications that eats up all the time. There is tracking down the MAR (medication administration record), double checking hand written prescriptions, collecting the various medications and the equipment for giving them, and making sure all the patients are on the floor to receive them.

Despite all of the above, it may seem that giving patients medicine is not a particularly difficult task—but it is one with life and death implications. According the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people in the U.S. every year. And those are just the reported mistakes.

The FDA says these mishaps can occur an every stage of the medication delivery system including:

  • Prescribing
  • Repackaging
  • Dispensing
  • Administering
  • Monitoring

The FDA lists the most common causes for these errors as:

  • Poor communication.
  • Ambiguities in product names, directions for use, medical abbreviations or writing.
  • Poor procedures or techniques, or patient misuse because of poor understanding of the directions for use of the product.

Many of these problem areas can fall within the realm of nursing administration of medications. It is for just these reasons that standards for medication administration were developed. Standards are those actions that ensure safe nursing practice.

The standards, in this case, are called the “rights” of medication administration and over the years there have been five, then six and now in many places eight “rights.” All medication errors can be linked, in some way, to an inconsistency in adhering to these “rights” of medication administration. The “rights” are taught from early on in nursing education and training, they are reinforced in the workplace and the FDA, drug companies and healthcare organizations issue signs, posters and plaques that hang in every facility where medications are given, reminding the providers to check and recheck what they do.

Interesting facts
The Five Rights of Laboratory Testing™ is a concept introduced in 2008 by Sunquest Information Systems, Inc. to emphasize the importance of the role that diagnostic laboratories play in patient safety. It shares synergies with the five rights of medication administration, which care providers are taught to ensure patient safety when giving a...
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