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Br J Nurs. 2007 May 10-23;16(9):556-8.

Factors contributing to incidents in medicine administration. Part 1.

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  • 1Medicine, Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, Hammersmith Hospital.


Part one of this two-part article explores the factors contributing to errors during the administration of medicines through a detailed literature review. Medication incidents cause serious harm to patients. In a typical NHS hospital approximately 7000 medication doses are administered daily (Audit Commission, 2002a). The costs of errors to patients, practitioners and the NHS are significant. While some errors can be prevented, it is unlikely that they will ever be eliminated as they arise from human nature (Kohn et al, 2000). There is a lack of strong evidence in the literature about what nurses feel the factors contributing to medication errors are. The majority of studies were carried out in the USA and tended to be carried out by non-nurses with the exception of those by Gladstone (1995), Hand and Barber (2000) and King (2004). Gibson (2001) felt that nurses' experiences and knowledge appear to be undervalued.

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