The national patient safety goals are aimed at improving the safety of patients by ensuring that very minimal medical errors occur within hospitals. When patients get admitted to hospitals, there are a lot of things that may go during the treatment, such as mix-up in medicines, administration of wrong treatment plans, among others. Some of these errors occur because of the communication breakdowns among caregivers, while some errors occur due to negligence. When such errors occur, they put patients at risk because medical errors can have severe consequences on the health of the patient and, in some cases, loss of life. Therefore the National Patient Safety Goals are designed to improve the practice of medical workers and ensuring that patient safety is upheld. The 2019 National Patient Safety Goals focused on some key areas that deal with such issues as patient identity, safe use of medicine, prevention of infection, and prevention of risks (“National Patient Safety Goals,” 2019), among others. One of the areas that have interested me is the issue to do with the safe use of medicine.
The use of medicine in hospitals can put the safety of patients at risk, especially when wrong drugs are administered (Kavanagh, 2017). The consequence of such actions are always dire to the patient and taints the integrity and professionalism of the caregiver involved. Errors that arise from wrong prescription drugs are a concern to me because I have witnessed some occasions where caregivers thought that they were giving patients the right medication only to realize that they used the wrong container. This confusion often arises because the containers that hold medicine are similar, which makes it easy for a nurse or doctor to confuse the drugs (Billstein-Leber et al., 2018). The lack of proper labeling of medical containers has placed the safety of patients at risk, and therefore, I think that more needs to be done to ensure that no confusion arises. If possible, pharmaceutical companies should use different colors and container shapes to help in removing the mix-up that caregivers may find when attending to patients.
The NPSG of safe use of medicine allows nurses and other healthcare workers to improve the way they handle medications at the hospital. Healthcare workers are asked to label all medicines before embarking on a procedure at the hospitals. No drug should be left unlabeled because it can lead to mix-ups. The challenge that comes from the labeling of medicine is that medicine container looks alike and therefore, healthcare workers may mistake the drugs leading the violations of safety standards.
Another area that has proven to be challenging is taking records of patients’ medicines and ensuring that patients adhere to the right prescription, especially after being discharged. When patients leave hospitals, they need to know the type of medicine that they should use and how they should take them. However, nurses and other healthcare workers often forget to educate patients on how to use their prescribed medication, thereby leading to cases of overdose as well as the ingestion of wrong drugs.
Additionally of patients in the correct manner can also be a challenge that the NPSG seeks to address in its 2019 safety goals. Patient identification can prove to be an uphill task, especially when records are not taken properly. The NPSG suggest that healthcare workers should identify patient on the name and date of birth basis to prevent cases of wrong identification (“National Patients Safety Goals,” 2019). However, these goals can be improved through technology where patient’s records can be stored using the digital electronic systems of health. Electronic health records help healthcare workers to identify patients with eases and ensure that they get the right treatment plans. The electronic health systems also aid in ensuring patients privacy protection
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