Pharmacies are high-pressure environments generating conditions that undermine safety. This story highlights working conditions in chain pharmacies that cause concerns for pharmacists in their ability to prepare and dispense medications safely due to lack of appropriate staffing and time to do their jobs.
Schroers G, Ross JG, Moriarty H. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:38-53.
Medication errors are a common source of patient harm. This systematic review synthesizing qualitative evidence concluded that nurses’ perceived causes of medication administration errors are multifactorial, interconnected, and stem from systems issues. Perceived causes included lack of medication knowledge, fatigue, complacency, heavy workloads, and interruptions.
Leviatan I, Oberman B, Zimlichman E, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:1074-1080.
Human factors, such as cognitive load, are main contributors to prescribing errors. This study assessed the relationship between medication prescribing errors and a physician’s workload, successive work shifts, and prescribing experience. The researchers reviewed presumed medication errors flagged by a computerized decision support system (CDSS) in acute care settings (excluding intensive care units) and found that longer hours and less experience in prescribing specific medications increased the risk of prescribing errors.
Watterson TL, Look KA, Steege LM, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;17:1282-1287.
Fatigue has been linked to safety-related outcomes among many types of healthcare providers and settings. Using exploratory factor analysis, this study found physical and mental fatigue were the primary drivers of occupational fatigue in pharmacists. To increase safety, organizational interventions should strive to prevent burnout among pharmacists .
Di Simone E, Fabbian F, Giannetta N, et al. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2020;24:7058-7062.
Based on survey data of a sample of nurses, the authors identified a significant association between perceived risk of near miss medication errors and both poor sleep quality and short resting time after a night shift.
Westbrook JI, Raban MZ, Walter SR, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:655-663.
This direct observation study of emergency physicians found that interruptions, multitasking, and poor sleep were associated with making more medication prescribing errors. These results add to the evidence that clinical environments prone to interruptions may pose a safety risk.
This Web site provides access to materials for patient safety improvement efforts in Minnesota, including initiatives to reduce adverse drug events and hospital collaboratives to implement best practices.
Ardenne M, Reitnauer PG. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 1975;25:1369-79.
This special issue explores adverse events in nursing, including nurses' perceptions and attitudes towards adverse events, the effect of fatigue on shift work, and how to improve clinical decision making.
A considerable amount of attention has been paid to the issue of physician work hours and patient safety, thanks in part to regulations limiting duty hours for resident physicians. Fatigue has also been demonstrated to be a risk factor for errors among nurses, particularly when nurses work overtime or extended duration shifts. In this analysis, the authors found that among nurses, working voluntary overtime or working more than 40 hours per week were strongly correlated with an increase in self-reported errors, particularly needlestick injuries and medication errors. While legislative efforts have focused on restricting mandatory overtime for nurses, these results raise concern that the widespread practice of taking voluntary overtime shifts could negatively affect patient safety.
Sixth Report of Session 2008–09. House of Commons Health Committee. London, England: The Stationery Office; July 3, 2009. Publication HC 151-I.
This government report analyzes the National Health Service's efforts to enhance patient safety and recommends improving certain areas, such as adopting technology, analyzing failure, and ensuring both practitioner education and adequate staffing.
Intern J Health Care Qual Assur. 2007;20(7):555-632.
This special issue includes articles by authors from Australia, Israel, France, Iran, and Belgium that explore ideas such as building a culture of safety, replacing medical equipment, and measuring safety improvements.
Following surgery, a woman on a patient-controlled analgesia pump is found to be lethargic and incoherent, with a low respiratory rate. The nurse contacted the attending physician, who dismisses the patient's symptoms and chastises the nurse for the late call.
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