If you have ever experienced a health condition that required hospitalization, you understand the feelings of vulnerability Texas patients often say they feel when they must depend on nurses, doctors and other medical workers to provide for their care and daily needs. Perhaps you’ve been in a situation where nurses were coming in and out of your room to check your vital signs or administer medication to you.
A doctor might prescribe medication to you while you’re in the hospital for any number of reasons. In fact, depending on your condition, there may be a need to take more than one medication simultaneously. Your medical records and physician’s instructions help nurses avoid medication errors, which can cause serious injury or even death. You can reasonably expect that the nurses administering your medication are adhering to strict protocol and safety regulations. If a nurse makes an error through negligence, you can immediately reach out for patient advocate support.
The average nurse understands the five Rs
It’s easy to imagine how stressful it can be for nurses who must provide care for multiple patients at the same time. If you’ve ever rung the call button by a hospital bed only to have to wait what seemed like forever for a nurse to respond, you know how busy a hospital ward can get. Busyness is no excuse for medication errors, however.
Most nurses use the “Five Rights for Medication Administration” (Five Rs) guidelines to avoid mistakes. Each “right” is a means of making sure a nurse is acting with correctness when administering medication to patients. The following list provides further explanation:
- The nurse administering medication to you must double check that you’re the right patient. Giving you a drug that is meant for another patient can have disastrous, even lethal results.
- A nurse must also be sure that he or she is administering the right medication. Knowing you’re the right patient isn’t enough; the medication must be the exact drug the doctor prescribed for you.
- If the nurse is certain that you’re the right patient and that he or she is holding the correct medication, serious errors can still occur if the nurse doesn’t double check proper dosage.
- Nurses administer medication through various routes, including topically, orally or intravenously. One of the Five Rs is to make sure you’re getting your medication by the correct route.
- Timing is an important factor in medication administration. The fifth “R” that helps nurses avoid medication errors is to double-check timing instructions and to adhere to them, as needed.
The Five Rs help keep you safe while you’re taking medication in a hospital. You can use the Five Rs as well if you’re a parent, for instance, who must administer medication to a child at home. If you’re a patient who is receiving medication in a hospital, there’s always a risk that your body might have an adverse reaction to a particular drug.
However, medication errors should never occur because of nursing negligence. There’s no excuse for disregarding protocol or safety regulations while providing care and treatment to a patient. Many Texas patients who have suffered injuries because of nursing negligence have sought financial recovery for their losses by filing medical malpractice claims in civil court against those deemed responsible for damages.