Identifying a measurable patient-centered practice problem related to quality or safety is crucial for nursing practice, as it provides a focus for improvement efforts and enhances patient outcomes. In my practice setting, I have identified a practice problem related to medication errors. Medication errors are a common quality and safety issue in healthcare settings and have a significant impact on patient safety and outcomes.
The problem involves the administration of medications to patients, specifically the occurrence of medication errors that result in adverse drug events. These errors can occur at various stages, including prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring medications. Medication errors can lead to patient harm, prolonged hospital stays, increased healthcare costs, and even death in extreme cases. It is imperative to address this practice problem to improve patient safety and enhance the quality of care delivery.
The conversation I had with the key leader in my practice setting, which was a nurse manager, impacted my decision to address the medication error practice problem. The nurse manager shared data regarding medication errors in our unit, such as the number of reported errors, the severity of the errors, and the potential causes identified during incident investigations. This data highlighted the seriousness of the issue and the need for proactive interventions to prevent medication errors and improve patient safety.
Regarding the relevance of this problem for nursing practice, the literature supports the significance of addressing medication errors as a patient-centered practice problem. Various studies have shown a strong correlation between medication errors and adverse patient outcomes. For example, a study by Bates et al. (1995) found that medication errors were associated with a threefold increased risk of adverse drug events. Another study by Rothschild et al. (2005) identified that medication errors were responsible for approximately 7,000 deaths annually in the United States.
In my practice area, the availability of data on medication errors is substantial. There are incident reporting systems in place, where healthcare providers can document medication errors and near misses. These reports capture essential information, such as the medication involved, the stage at which the error occurred, contributing factors, and any adverse outcomes. Additionally, our hospital also collects data on medication administration errors through audits and observations.
The analysis of the available data reveals the presence of a medication error problem in our practice setting. The data shows a consistent number of reported errors and near misses, suggesting that there may be underlying systemic issues contributing to these errors. The identification of this quality problem through data analysis can serve as a launching point for interventions and quality improvement initiatives.
To conclude, the measurable patient-centered practice problem I have identified in my practice setting is medication errors. This problem has significant implications for patient safety and outcomes. The conversation with the nurse manager and the available literature on medication errors further supported the selection of this problem. The data available in my practice area, including incident reports and audits, confirm the presence of a medication error problem. By addressing this practice problem, we can enhance patient safety, improve the quality of care delivery, and ultimately achieve better patient outcomes.