Pharmacist Interview and Medication Errors

Interview a pharmacist and determine your facility’s policy for reporting medication errors. Discuss ways to prevent medication errors and methods to encourage reporting medication errors.

The interview should be no less than two pages in length but no more than four pages in length (not counting title page or reference page).

In addition to the personal communication reference, a minimum of three professional and scholarly references are required, no more than 5 years old.

Here are some recommended readings –

http://www.jointcommission.org/ Links to an external site.  (review current Sentinel Event Alerts under Resources, Patient Safety Topics)

https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/HealthProfessionals/default.htm Links to an external site.(review various topics of interest for healthcare professionals—it is important to stay current on drug recalls, drug safety communication, etc.)

http://www.ismp.org Links to an external site.(explore the site)

http://www.nccmerp.org/ Links to an external site. (explore the site)

 

Answer

Pharmacist Interview and Medication Errors

Medication errors are any preventable event that leads to inappropriate medication use by the patient, with possible harm. Medication errors occur when the medication is in the control of the care provider, patient, or consumer. Medication errors are one of the factors compromising patient safety. They are also one of the major causes of adverse events and are a primary global healthcare concern due to the threats it poses to patient. Additionally, medication errors that can be judged as professional negligence have adverse consequences for the care providers responsible. The focus of this essay is medication errors, the institutions’ policy for reporting medication errors, prevention of medication errors, and methods to encourage medication errors. The information will be based on an interview with a pharmacist at the institution.

Medication Errors

I interviewed Mr. John G., one of the pharmacists at my facility. Mr. John is the chief pharmacist in my institution. He is in charge of all operations in the pharmacy department and, thus, was the best person to interview for this assignment. First and foremost, Mr. John helped me understand the different issues that lead to medication errors. These issues include prescription errors, medication order miscommunication, packaging, medication labeling, dispensing, distribution, administration, education monitoring, and use of a specific medication (John, G., Personal Communication, 5th January 2023). All these issues revolve around or could be faults in professional practice, healthcare products, procedures, and medication administration systems and use.

According to Al-Ahmadi et al. (2020), medication errors can be categorized by individual factors such as fatigue, emotional stress, poor policies compliance, and staff competency, organizational and management factors such as insufficient staff supporting systems, task factors such as inadequate task clarification and standardization, workplace factors such as workloads and disruptions, and team factors such as poor communication. Mr. John believes that medication error reporting policies effectively prevent errors and take the appropriate steps to resolve them if they occur (John, G., Personal Communication, 5th January, 2023).

Facility’s policy for Reporting Medication Errors

Goodlife and Wellness Medical Center, our institution, has developed a robust policy meant to prevent medication errors and report events of medication errors when they occur. The policy has defined and categorized medication errors so that the care providers know what to report. The policy has also identified the different units and departments in the institutions prone to medication errors. The areas more prone to medication errors include diagnosing a patient, prescribing, disseminating, and administering medications (John, G., Personal Communication, 5th January 2023).

Furthermore, the policy stipulates six steps for reporting medication errors in the institution. These steps are; filling out the medication error report form, submission of the form to the pharmacy department, error assessment by the unit manager, informing the medication safety committee, medication error review and action taking, and informing the quality department (John, G., Personal Communication, 5th January 2023). These steps are supposed to be followed by all healthcare professionals in the event of a medication error. The medication error report form is readily available for all healthcare professionals.

Ways of Preventing Medication Errors

Medication errors are preventable. There are various ways of preventing medication errors. Research shows that some of the most common systems for preventing medication errors in institutions include using electronic medical records, standardized measuring units, barcoding system, weight-based dosing, and having a pharmacist around to assist in dosage calculations (Rodziecicz, Houseman & Hipskind, 2022). These ways prevent medication errors caused by inaccurate dosages, patient misidentification, administration of the wrong medications, and faults in prescriptions. The specific measures used to reduce and prevent medication errors in our institution include double-checking medications, pre-printing drug labels, using tubing separators, and providing alerts when a dose is out of the standard rate (John, G., Personal Communication, 5th January 2023).

Methods to Encourage Reporting Medication Errors

Healthcare providers should be encouraged to report medication errors any time they occur. One of the methods to encourage medication error reporting is by training the healthcare providers on the institution’s policy regarding medication errors and medication error reporting. A report by the World Health Organization in 2019 indicated that most healthcare providers working in institutions are not conversant with their institutions’ medication error reporting policy (WHO, 2019). It is the healthcare leaders’ responsibility to train their workers in these policies.

Furthermore, maintaining a motivation program would help encourage reporting medication errors. Massah, Mohammadi & Namnabati (2021) note that reporting medication errors helps maintain and enhance patient safety. It can be used as a learning tool to sensitize other care providers and thus help prevent the repetition of similar errors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, medication errors are preventable and can be reduced if all healthcare professionals take responsibility by using the proper techniques and safety nets to avoid error possibilities. The most common medication errors are caused by communication, prescription, and dispensing faults. Different healthcare institutions have developed policies to prevent and report medication errors. All healthcare professionals should be aware of the medication error reporting policies in their healthcare institutions, and use them effectively. Healthcare leaders should encourage the reporting of medication errors in their institutions.

References

Al-Ahmadi, R. F., Al-Juffali, L., Al-Shanawani, S., & Ali, S. (2020). Categorizing and understanding medication errors in hospital pharmacy in relation to human factors. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal: SPJ: The Official publication of the Saudi Pharmaceutical Society28(12), 1674–1685. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsps.2020.10.014

John, G. (5th January 2023) Personal Communication. Interview.

Massah, L., Mohammadi, R., & Namnabati, M. (2021). Improvement of medication error reporting: An applied motivation program in pediatric units. Journal of Education and Health Promotion10(1), 189. https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_1025_20

Rodziewicz, T. L., Houseman, B., & Hipskind, J. E. (2022). Medical error reduction and prevention. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499956/

World Health Organization. (2019). Medication safety in polypharmacy: technical report (No. WHO/UHC/SDS/2019.11). World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/325454/WHO-UHC-SDS-2019.11-eng.pdf

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