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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Do calculation errors by nurses cause medication errors in clinical practice? A literature review.

Wright K. Nurse education today. 2010;30:85-97.

A 2008 Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert highlighted the increased risk of medication errors in children, who are particularly vulnerable due to specialized dosing needs that may require calculations by nurses or pharmacists. This review sought to evaluate the connection between calculation errors and actual medication errors, but found that while some studies have examined the incidence of calculation errors and methods of preventing these errors, few studies have specifically measured the effect of calculation errors on patient outcomes (and no studies have been performed in pediatric hospitals). Computerized provider order entry holds promise as a way of preventing adverse drug events due to calculation errors.