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J Nurs Care Qual. 2011 Apr-Jun;26(2):128-35. doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0b013e3181f54b14.

The application of Aronson's taxonomy to medication errors in nursing.

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Centre for Applied Nursing Research, School of Nursing & Midwifery, College of Health & Science, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, New South Wales, Australia.


Medication administration is a frequent nursing activity that is prone to error. In this study of 318 self-reported medication incidents (including near misses), very few resulted in patient harm-7% required intervention or prolonged hospitalization or caused temporary harm. Aronson's classification system provided an excellent framework for analysis of the incidents with a close connection between the type of error and the change strategy to minimize medication incidents. Taking a behavioral approach to medication error classification has provided helpful strategies for nurses such as nurse-call cards on patient lockers when patients are absent and checking of medication sign-off by outgoing and incoming staff at handover.

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