News | June 17, 2007

New National Study: Top Concerns for Nurses include Medication Errors, Syringe Safety

June 18, 2007 — The American Nurses Association (ANA) announced the findings of the 2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors, an independent nationwide survey of 1,039 nurses.

According to the research, the overwhelming majority of nurses (97 percent) say they "worry" about medication errors and more than two-thirds (68 percent) believe medication errors can be reduced with more consistent syringe labeling.

The 2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors was developed and co-sponsored by ANA and Inviro Medical Devices. It was designed to capture opinions, concerns and experiences about challenges related to labeling on syringes, which has been a Joint Commission recommendation since 2006.

Nurses indicate the most common factors contributing to injectable medication errors are:

-Too rushed / busy environment (78 percent)
-Poor / illegible handwriting (68 percent)
-Missed or mistaken physician's orders (62 percent)
-Similar drug names or medication appearance (56 percent)
-Working with too many medications (60 percent)

As many as 28 percent of nurses nationwide do not label syringes when using them. Of the 72 percent who do, in fact, label syringes, they do so by:

-Writing on self-adhesive labels then applying to syringe (54 percent)
-Writing on pieces of tape and adhering to syringe (31 percent)
-Using Sharpie and writing directly on syringe (11 percent)
- Writing on paper or sticky note and taping to syringe (4 percent)

Of the 1,039 nurses surveyed:

- 22 percent have been a nurse for one to five years
- 12 percent have been nurses for 6 to 10 years
- 15 percent have been nurses for 11 to 15 years
- 51 percent have been nurses for more than 15 years

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