Medication Errors as a Patient Safety Issue


The current presentation is devoted to analyzing medication errors as a patient safety issue. During the presentation, we are going to discuss several topics. First, is the general information about the medication errors. Second, is the correlation between medical errors and the quality of clinical judgment. Third, the improvements contributing to medication error avoidance and challenges in its application. Fourth, the communication concerns cause the medication errors. At the end of the presentation, a general conclusion of the topic will be provided.

Medication error: Overview

Every day many people die because of improper medical care. One of the most common factors featuring poor nursing is medical error. Medical error is usually described as a preventable action that causes deviation from the prepared treatment plan (Melnyk et al., 2021). The medical error can be unexpected and cause the death of potentially healthy people with minor health issues. The prevention of medical errors contributes to the improvement of nursing and the patients’ safety. The medical organization should consider many different problems which cause the occurrence of medical errors. Most of the errors fall into main groups: the diagnosis, surgery or treatment, and follow-up after treatment errors (Melnyk et al., 2021).

Clinical judgment level

Clinical judgment is a vital process in nursing practices used by doctors to estimate the patient’s symptoms, and test results, and conclude the diagnosis. Therefore, careful analysis and information collection can help avoid medical errors in the first step of the treatment. Due to the low-quality clinical judgment, the patient is at risk of having improper treatment. Ill-conceived treatment sometimes can have a fatal outcome for the patients. In order to avoid such adverse implications, medical organizations should ensure the high quality of clinical judgment.

Since clinical judgment results from mental activity, many factors such as anxiety, prejudices, and environmental issues can affect this process. Thus, the doctors’ and nurses’ mental characteristics can badly harm the health of the patient. For example, there is a tendency in healthcare when older people to fall victim to prejudice that all their problems are caused by age and the deterioration of the body. As a result, people do not have their health issues appropriately analyzed and do not get the in-time treatment, which reduces their lifespan. Therefore, to ensure the patients’ safety, the medical organizations must provide high-level clinical judgment.

Current health initiatives

The first initiative to mention is prescriber education. To improve the quality of the medical analysis and prevent prescribing errors, medical organizations often held special training and seminars where specialists discuss the up-to-date medicine errors and systemize the information in the laconic form for everyone to read. According to the evaluation research, this method significantly impacts the error rate in prescribing (Kusljic et al., 2020). Even though it affects only one sphere of medical practices, it is crucial to increase the medical worker’s awareness of the possible mistakes in terms of patient safety. Some countries’ legislation like Switzerland’s and Finland’s consider this practice compulsory (Manias et al., 2020).

People cannot avoid mistakes; thereby, technologies were created to correct human imperfection. Clinical decision support systems consist of several technologies, including computer programs and evaluation medicine devices. The main aim of the system is to help healthcare providers to manage high-quality treatment. The computer reminds the medical providers about the time to check on the patient, offers medicine, and provides exceptional guides and treatment options according to the patient’s illness. Practical research concluded that the error rates in medical organizations with a clinical decision support system are lower than those without the system (Kusljic et al., 2020). The system’s main advantage is that it covers all the departments of the medical organization collecting all the necessary data, making it easier to analyze for the medical providers. However, this equipment is quite expensive and requires additional expenditures.


Reducing medication errors is a challenging process that has several difficulties when improving the patients’ safety. The first one is the finance issue which can severely slow down the implementation of the new initiatives. For example, the computerized medication reconciliation equipment and programs are pretty expensive. Therefore, medical organizations cannot afford to acquire it and without great sponsorship. The educational programs increasing the medical provider’s awareness of the errors also require a lot of money to organize. Thus, the country’s government should manage the budget properly and allocate funds to the medical sphere to develop the patients’ safety. Moreover, to prevent medication error, medicine requires new research that will provide the technologies and modern methods of the illnesses’ treatment. Sponsoring the studies also costs a lot for the government. Unfortunately, the lack of financing interferes with the possible improvements in medicine.

Unfortunately, nowadays, many illnesses are hard to identify and understand. Sometimes medical providers try to do everything possible to save patient life and fail. The clinicians often may not be the ones to blame. Many different factors such as the lack of knowledge, negligence, and unconscious behavior influence the occurrence of errors. The technologies exist to support humans under challenging moments; however, even computers can work incorrectly. Sometimes, even the special computer equipment can fail the medical providers, and there will be a high risk of misjudgment resulting in a negative impact on the patent’s health. Therefore, the complete avoidance of medication errors is impossible. The computers require in-time program and data upgrading and constant monitoring, which in turn costs a lot.

Workplace communication issues

Efficient communication at the workplace will help medical providers increase the patient safety level. The lousy communication results in the wrong understanding of the patient’s primary symptoms and causes dangerous medication errors. For example, improper multicultural resource management can result in language or cultural difficulties in communication among the doctors. Documentation is also considered a part of workplace communication. The outdated or insufficient information transmitted from one doctor to another can badly harm the correctness of the diagnosis and cause medication errors. Communication problems also can touch the patient-doctor relationships. Thus, the patient’s inability to adequately describe the issue can also be a severe communication disruption that misleads the doctor. Prejudices and language barriers can affect the doctor’s perception of the patient’s problem. The thorough employee selection, careful data monitoring, and onboard translator can solve mentioned above issues.


Medication error is a serious problem confronting the patients’ safety level. Errors can be caused by various factors connected to the doctor’s state and lack of knowledge, technological disruptions, mere misunderstanding, and the severity of the illness. In order to develop the patient’s safety level, medical organizations need to improve medical services as much as possible to avoid medication errors. The improvement of technological and knowledge-based healthcare spheres reduces the risk of negative consequences for the patient’s health. The implementation of innovative technologies to support doctors and additional medical provider education require new sponsorship programs. Healthcare can be improved with the help of governments.


Kusljic, S., Manias, E., & Wu, A. (2020). Interventions to reduce medication errors in adult medical and surgical settings: A systematic review. SAGE Journal, 11, 1-12.

Melnyk, B., et al. (2021). Critical care nurses’ physical and mental health, worksite wellness support, and medical errors. AJCC, 30(3), 176-184.

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