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Ergonomics. 2006 Apr 15-May 15;49(5-6):444-56.

Patient safety during medication administration: the influence of organizational and individual variables on unsafe work practices and medication errors.

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  • 1University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, 4350, Australia.


Medication errors are a leading cause of unintended harm to patients, both in Australia and internationally, and there is now a concerted attempt to identify and correct individual and workplace factors that encourage medication errors. The current study used structural equation modelling to measure organizational climate and to test a model with hypothesized links between climate and unsafe medication administration behaviours. The study also examined the possible mediating role of stress and morale. Data were collected from 176 nurses working in rural areas in Australia. The model provided a reasonable fit to the data with organizational climate accounting for 39% of the variance in individual distress, which in turn explained 7% of the variance in self-reported violations. The only variable that made a direct contribution to errors was violations, which accounted for 24% of the variance in medication errors. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring the state of the whole health system. Deficiencies at the organizational level affect the psychological well-being of hospital employees, and distressed employees are more likely to engage in substandard work practices that ultimately endanger the patients under their care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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