Distractions & Interruptions Lead to Nursing Errors

by John McKiggan

Distractions Cause Nursing Errors
Nurses who are distracted or interrupted during their medical preparation experience higher levels of medical errors.

I have posted before about how overworking causes errors that lead to medical malpractice.

Overworked Nurses Causing Medication Errors

However, a recent study published in Patient Safety and Quality Health Care has established a link between common distractions that nurses experience in the work place and the rate of medical errors.

Key Findings:

Errors were classified as “procedural failures” for example failing to properly read a medical label, or “clinical errors” like giving a patient the wrong drug or the wrong dose of the correct drug.

Interruptions occurred during more than half (53%!) of all medical administrations.

Each interruption was associated with a 12% increase in clinical errors.

Although most errors (almost 80% had little or no impact on patient care, almost 3% were considered major errors which endangered patient safety.)

The most common procedural error was failing to confirm that the proper patient was receiving the proper prescription.

The most common clinical error was administering the medication at the wrong time.

This study was conducted in the United States where approximately 98,000 Americans are killed every year as a result of medical errors. In Canada more than 24,000 Canadians die each year as a result of medical errors.

Medical Malpractice in Canada: How often does it happen?

In an era of budget cuts and financial restraint healthcare workers are being asked to do more and more with fewer resources. By identifying the factors that can lead to medical errors the study can, hopefully, help eliminate medical errors that endanger patient safety.

As a result of this study, and others like it, some hospitals have actually implemented “do not disturb” zones so nurses can have uninterrupted periods of time to administer medication and clinical care.

For more information you can get a copy of my book: The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of Canadian Medical Malpractice Victims Never Receive a Penny in Compensation. on Amazon.

Or you can contact me through this blog or by calling toll free in Atlantic Canada 1-888-647-7201 and we will send you a copy, free, anywhere in the Maritimes.

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