15 Ways Nurses Can Save Themselves from Making Medication Errors

In the nursing profession, you need to always stay alert because even a small error can harm the patient or lead to a serious life-threatening situation. Nurse practitioners play a very vital role in recovering patients. From helping them getting admitted, giving proper medication to keeping them stable and comfortable, nurses do everything to take care of patients. As a nurse, it is essential to be following all precautionary steps. First-year nurses tend to make more mistakes. We do learn from our mistakes, but in the medical field, there is no room for error. Your mistake can be dangerous to someone, so nurses always need to be careful while taking care of their patients.

I did not mean to scare you before your first day in the nursing profession. I only intended to show you the real scenario of what goes into a profession of a nurse so that you are fully prepared before your first day. I am going to share 15 tips that will help in your nursing profession.

Gather information on the drugs

Collect information about the medication to prevent all kinds of medication errors in your nursing profession. You make error medication when you know very little about the medication and drugs. But if you spend every day learning about the details, you can avoid making mistakes and you will feel more confident.

Be prepared with a drug handbook

It is important to be thorough with the medication details but you also need to keep a drug guide with you for quick reference. This way, you will easily be able to get important information, side effects, drug interactions, and drug cautions.

Always check the drug administration chart

Someday you will have to deal with a lot more patients in a ward than usual. It is common to get confused and giving the wrong drug to the wrong patient. Some do this when they feel overconfident about themselves. In these scenarios, you need to ask the patients or check their names before giving them the medication. Also, ask their date of birth to identify the person. You must also verify if the patient has any kind of allergies. You should not blindly rely on the medication chart

Be prepared with a pen and a notepad

You should always be prepared with a pen and a notepad whenever a doctor dictates the prescription. Repeat whatever you have written in the prescription again to confirm with the doctor. However, if the doctor is in a rush and does not have enough time to give you the confirmation you needed, cross-check it with the drug handbook to be doubly sure about the accuracy of your notes

Stay alert of the high alert medications

Be careful particularly with those medications that may cause irreversible harm. Immediately red flag those medications so that it reaches to your ward or specialty unit area like continuous infusions f inotropes, narcotics, epidurals, anesthetics, and other specific drugs like heparin. You must be aware of the protocol for anaphylactic reaction or overdose. Also, be extra careful with the drugs that are often confused due to similar spelling or pronunciation.

Document everything

You must take a thorough assessment and document everything about the patient. From patients, alternative therapies to additional pain medication given during the shift, note down everything and then handover it at the shift change-over. Avoid using any kind of abbreviations in your notes as they can be misinterpreted.

Maintain your focus

Interruptions of any kind of disruptions are the major cause of error during the preparation and administration of medication for nurses. Strategies like ‘do not disturb’ and ‘no interruption’ vests work wells for minimizing drug errors.

Prioritize your work

Nursing is a serious profession and thus, it is essential to manage your work and decide the priority. It is possible to get multiple tasks at once. So in such a scenario, learn to understand which your critical case is but at the same time, you also need to make sure not to neglect other patients. While you attend the most critical case, assign another nurse for another case.

Give extra care to older patients

Older people often require extra attention and care. You need to check if they have any kind of allergies. You also need to check if they have forgotten to mention any kind of allergies. It will be best if you talk to the family of patients since they can give you information about them in a detailed manner.

Accurately label the medication

It is not advised to transfer drugs from original containers, but you will require doing it in many cases, like shortage of containers or contaminated containers. While making the transfer, you must ensure to stick a proper label on the containers or create major confusion.

Don’t be confused with ear drops and eye drops

Ear drops and eye drops are often given to patients as part of the medication. Due to their resemblance, nurses tend to get confused between them. If you provide eye drops into the ear by mistake, it might be not painful since they are a gentle solution. However, if you apply ear drops to the eye of the patient, it will be very painful. It is your responsibility to check they are properly labeled.

Ask for help 

Do not let your confusion get the best of you. Often nurses avoid asking for help to avoid embarrassment. But when you are asking things to be sure it shows your dedication and your understanding of the seriousness of the job. What people will think about you cannot be bigger than anyone’s health. So if you have any difficulties or confusion, make sure you ask other nurses to prevent any mistakes.

You may also consult an online nursing essay writer help service that can guide you in the right direction and share some tips with you.

Pay attention to extended-release coating tablets

Some tablets contain an extended-release coating. These tablets are given to make sure they work slowly in the body over many doses. The purpose of this tablet is to increase the function of the tablet while minimizing the frequency of taking the tablet. So when you are cutting the tablet, make sure you do not cut down the coating. If you end up cutting the coating, it might cause an overdose.

Check the equipment

Before you touch any new patient, you must clean the equipment properly. Since you are using the same equipment for multiple patients, you need to be sure that you are not causing infections or transmitting diseases. You need to check yourself also. You must properly sanitize your hands before going to the next patient.

Get to know ins and out of the case files of patients

Besides doctors, nurses also are required to be thorough with the case files of the patients There were several cases when just due to misunderstanding in handwriting, patients were affected. So, if you are aware of the case of patients, you will be able to detect issues like that and save the life of a patient.


The role of nurses is very important before the treatment, during the treatment, and after the treatment. During their duty of giving medications, keeping them stable and comfortable, or helping them in the recovery process, many things can go wrong. So we have compiled a list of 15 tips to make you aware of how you can prevent yourself from making the entire possible mistake in the nursing profession.