Chapter 6. Non-Parenteral Medication Administration

6.8 Summary

Nurses play an essential role in medical reconciliation; preparing, administering, monitoring, evaluating, teaching patients; and documenting responses to medications. Medication administration requires good decision-making skills and clinical judgment, and the nurse is responsible for ensuring full understanding of medication administration and its implications for patient safety.

This chapter discusses guidelines to follow for mitigating medication errors and adverse drug events (ADEs). Non-parenteral routes of medication administration are discussed, and the steps for following each of these processes safely is outlined.

Key Takeaways

  • Safe and accurate medication administration is a key nursing responsibility.
  • Medication administration is a complex process that requires the full attention of the nurse to avoid medication errors and adverse drug events.
  • Nurses can reduce errors by following guidelines, knowing the types of medication errors that are most likely to occur and strategies for their prevention, and understanding the implications of the medication being given.
  • There are several routes for medication administration. Knowing when it is appropriate to use each route, and knowing the process for medication administration via that route, will help to mitigate medication errors.
  • The seven rights and three checks provide a process for safe drug administration and are a collaborative effort of the nurse, the pharmacist, and the physician.
  • Accurate and timely documentation of medication administration and the effect of the medication on the patient is an important responsibility of the nurse and promotes patient safety.
  • Patient education is an extremely important factor in medication adherence and proper self-administration and is an important nursing responsibility.

 Suggested Online Resources

  1. Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI): Medication safety. This resource explains how to reduce adverse drug events by following the medication reconciliation process.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Medication safety basics. This website outlines medication safety basics and provides several medication safety fact sheets.
  3. Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP). This is the website for an independent national not-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of medication safety in all health care settings.
  4. Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP): Medication reconciliation. This website provides a definition of medication reconciliation and resources to complete the medication reconciliation process to ensure safe and effective communication for all health care providers regarding use of all medications.


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Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care Copyright © 2015 by Glynda Rees Doyle and Jodie Anita McCutcheon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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