Adherence to the double-checking process during medication administration


#IVTEAM #Intravenous literature: Alsulami, Z., Choonara, I. and Conroy, S. (2013) Paediatric nurses’ adherence to the double-checking process during medication administration in a children’s hospital: an observational study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. November 14th. .


AIM: To evaluate how closely double-checking policies are followed by nurses in paediatric areas and also to identify the types, frequency and rates of medication administration errors that occur despite the double-checking process.

BACKGROUND: Double-checking by two nurses is an intervention used in many UK hospitals to prevent or reduce medication administration errors. There is, however, insufficient evidence to either support or refute the practice of double-checking in terms of medication error risk reduction.

DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

METHODS: This was a prospective observational study of paediatric nurses’ adherence to the double-checking process for medication administration from April-July 2012.

RESULTS: Drug dose administration events (n = 2000) were observed. Independent drug dose calculation, rate of administering intravenous bolus drugs and labelling of flush syringes were the steps with lowest adherence rates. Drug dose calculation was only double-checked independently in 591 (30%) drug administrations. There was a statistically significant difference in nurses’ adherence rate to the double-checking steps between weekdays and weekends in nine of the 15 evaluated steps. Medication administration errors (n = 191) or deviations from policy were observed, at a rate of 9·6% of drug administrations. These included 64 drug doses, which were left for parents to administer without nurse observation.

CONCLUSION: There was variation between paediatric nurses’ adherence to double-checking steps during medication administration. The most frequent type of administration errors or deviation from policy involved the medicine being given to the parents to administer to the child when the nurse was not present.

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