Knowledge, behaviours, training and attitudes of nurses during preparation and administration of intravenous medications in intensive care units (ICU). A multicenter Italian study
Medication errors can put at risk the life of patients hospitalized in the ICUs. These errors occur more frequently in the ICUs due to their peculiar medical framework. There is not much information about the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and training needs of the nurses who work in ICUs towards the medication errors.
This study aims at describing the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and training needs of the Italian nurses who work in ICUs towards the use of IV drugs, and identifying the strategies that nurses can adopt to prevent the occurrence of medication errors.
Materials and methods
Cross-sectional study. The survey was carried out through a self-administrated questionnaire and it was addressed to 529 Italian nurses who work in the ICUs of Southern, Centre and Northern Italy hospitals (average age of the sample 39.9, SD=9.1, 68.1% females). The questionnaire, made of 36 items divided into 7 sections, was validated after the results of the pilot study.
The study highlighted the importance of the role, behaviours and knowledge of the nurses to prevent the medication errors. The results of the multivariate analysis of the multicentre study show a relation among correct behaviours and positive attitudes, even if it is not statistically significant. Worth mentioning is the fact that the achievement of a university degree affects negatively the correct behaviours (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.34-0.95), as well as the years of work (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.94-0.99).
The results of this multicentre study are encouraging. Nurses who have a good command of the English language (sufficient, good, and excellent) dedicate more than an hour per week to the bibliography update. Extending and deepening the knowledge of the nurses in a cyclical way might be an effective strategy to keep a high level of security of the drugs in the ICUs. The study highlighted that almost all the surveyed nurses (93%) are aware that an adequate knowledge of the drugs dosage calculation is essential to reduce the occurrence of medication errors in the drugs preparation phase.