Nurse interruptions linked to errors

May 21, 2010

Nurses who are interrupted while administering medication appear to have an increased risk of making medication errors, according to a new report.

Nurses who are interrupted while administering medication appear to have an increased risk of making medication errors, according to a report in the April 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from University of Sydney, Australia studied 98 nurses preparing and administering 4,271 medications to 720 patients over 505 hours from September 2006 through March 2008 in six wards of two teaching hospitals. Only 19.8 percent of these administrations were free of errors. At least one procedural failure occurred in 74.4 percent of administrations and at least one clinical failure in 25 percent. Interruptions occurred during 53.1 percent of administrations.