Strategies to Prevent Medication Errors in Medical Inpatient Care

The process of medication administration is very extensive and can involve a multitude of medical personnel such as doctors, pharmacists, and nurses, along with others. This can be seen as a benefit as there are many potential chances for an error to be identified, but it also allows for a lack of accountability as each individual can assume that the order passed down is correct. In a hospital setting, the nurse is most likely the last individual involved in the medication administration process, and it is vital that procedures and policies are followed to prevent patient harm from occurring.

The purpose of this paper is to determine the most prevalent causes of medication errors in medical inpatient care and describe effective strategies to prevent them.

Adult health inpatient care covers a very broad and large area of healthcare, and with the expanding population, the number of admissions to the medical-surgical units of hospitals will continue to grow. A patient will be considered to be in an inpatient care unit when they are admitted to a hospital with a stay lasting a minimum of one night either for treatment, observation, examination, or a combination of the three.

Most patients admitted are those admitted through the emergency room department of the hospital and require further care, monitoring, and education. Because there are 133 million people in the United States who suffer from one or more chronic conditions, a large number of patients hospitalized in a medical-surgical unit have a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, or depression to name a few (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009).

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According to the study, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Healthcare System (2000)”, more people die annually from medical error than motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. It was also the leading cause of unexpected death in health care settings (Kohn, Corrigan, & Donaldson, 2000). A medication error is an event that could be prevented, and involves the incorrect use of a medication that has the possibility of causing patient harm. The study stated that approximately 98,000 people die each year from medication errors in the United States, however, it is estimated that the number has now risen to 440,000 since the study was published (James, 2013. It was also found that 19.1% of these deaths are caused by an error in the administration, which is predominantly the role of a nurse (Keers, Williams, Cooke, & Ashcroft, 2013). With the incidence of these errors being so grossly frequent, it vital to address this issue and determine solutions that will help prevent them in order to keep patients safe.

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Strategies to Prevent Medication Errors in Medical Inpatient Care. (2022, Feb 08). Retrieved from

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