Medication errors during intravenous drug administration in intensive care units: state of the art and strategie
Introduction: several studies show that medication errors in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are potential, daily, life-threatening events for patients. This type of error occurs more frequently in the ICU due to features of the specific context such as: the complexity of patient’s condition, the large quantity of drugs administered intravenously, the complicated calculations often required to provide optimal doses, the frequent changes in prescriptions, the continuous updating of the infusion speed, the potential incompatibility between intravenous drugs, the need to manage large amounts of information in emergency situations. Aim: the aim of this review is to describe the connections between knowledge, behavior and the learning needs of intensive care nurses and the safety of intravenous medications, through error analysis in terms of: incidence, main types, associated drugs, situations, consequences, causes and risk reduction strategies. Materials and methods: review of the literature. The research was conducted on PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Ovid-SP, Cochrane Library. The research was limited to articles written in English in the last 10 years. Result: from these studies, the importance of the nurses’ role, behaviors and knowledge in the prevention of medication errors emerges clearly. Conclusions: the knowledge of the nursing team should be periodically enhanced through specific training. This appears to be a valid strategy for maintaining a high level of medication safety in the Intensive Care Unit.