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Nurses Perceptions Of Medication Errors

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Discuss about the Nurses Perceptions of Medication Errors.



The purpose of this paper is to present an in-depth and critical reflection of the medical error. It applies Gibb’s reflection cycle of description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action to reflect on what we did during the medical error. Health care practice involves associated errors which often occur unnoticed. In this scenario during my normal ward round with the nurse in the pediatric ward, we encountered this patient with type 1 diabetics and was due for an insulin injection at 10 am. Consulting with the nurse, I drew 24 units of insulin as instructed by the Registered nurse. Later when I was checking the patient, and blood glucose had drastically dropped from 14mmol to 3.5mmol. I had made an error with the nurse in charge administering the medication of the patient, we realized that we had confused the readings instead of 2.4 units we had given 24 units. We had committed medical error by wrongful administration of the wrong dosage of insulin drug to the patient. 

This incidence made me feel really bad, I felt that I was getting affected physically, mentally and socially by the action. I was psychologically distressed, having in mind that I had caused harm to the patient, this made me feel bad and ashamed of the incident. The wrong dosage medication for the patient made me feel guilty. The medical error made me to panic as my first experience became a medical error.  (Wolf et al., 2000). 


Upon further reflection, I realized that this was a chance for me to learn and understand what health care practice is. I started to think of how this error, have been prevented, (Kim, Kwon, Kim & Cho, 2011). The positive aspect was that I was able to learn on the management of medical error and how to easily prevent its occurrence in future. The reassurance of the head nurse and colleagues in the facility gave me an opportunity to feel more optimistic and hopeful. After going through the manual for standard procedures and guidelines on action to take in the event of medical error, I regained my confidence. I learnt on how to make proper reporting process and the required procedures in handling such case. The negative aspect of the event is that I felt inexperienced and not qualified to be a nurse; such action reflected my incompetency as a junior nurse in the profession. I was ashamed of what had happened, I felt afraid of punishment and I felt low self worth. I was afraid to talk to my colleagues of the error occurrence. As a junior nurse, as I thought they will under look me  as not incompetent. With dealing with patient, I was afraid to offer an apology as I thought the patient will feel that he was being treated by unqualified nurse. 

The issue caused me to question my nursing professionalism and competence’s and as a nurse I fell short of my expectations. It gave me an opportunity to be conversant with nursing practice guidelines and procedures aimed at minimizing medical errors. In offering management plan I had to ensure that the medical care plan I provided was of accepted standard and followed standard procedures utilized by nurses in management of patient safety. The facility has documented the protocol to follow in reporting and managing hospital errors in the hospital, I was able to learn these guidelines for my future practice, though not anticipating any intentional medical errors occurrence. Going through the Nursing care practice guidelines offered me the opportunity to ensure that my care thereafter the incident followed safe and ethical process in that the patient had to be informed of what happened in order to regain trust with the medical process  

Concluding this reflection is that, there is need for me to understand the reason why these medical errors occur, they can be due to human error which affects the health care practice. As a nursing student and nurse in general, there is need to learn more skills and strategies on how to cope up with such medical error and learn to take the responsibility of the cause of the action. Going forward in my profession, I should be able to educate and follow policy and procedures, learn to say No, and ensure that the five rights of medication administration are followed.



Kim, K. S., KWON, S. H., KIM, J. A., & Cho, S. (2011). Nurses’ perceptions of medication errors and their contributing factors in South Korea. Journal of nursing management, 19(3), 346-353.

Wolf, Z.R.,  Serembus, J.F.,  Smetzer, J.,  Cohen, H., & Cohen, M.  (2000). Responses and concerns of healthcare providers to medication errors.  Clinical Nurse Specialist, 14(6), 278-290. 


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