Discipline for Failure to Follow Medication Administration Policies

One important responsibility of a nurse’s job is to safely administer medications to patients. Medication administration policies are in place to ensure that patients receive the right medication, at the right time, and in the right dose. Failure to follow these policies can have serious consequences for the patient.

There is no doubt that medication errors can be devastating for patients. In fact, studies have shown that medication errors are responsible for a significant number of hospital admissions, and can sometimes even lead to death. However, it is important to note that not all medication errors are created equal. There is a big difference between giving a patient the wrong dose of aspirin and giving them the wrong dose of a controlled substance like morphine.

Controlled substances are medications that have a high potential for abuse and dependence. These medications are tightly regulated by the government, and nurses who administer them are subject to a higher level of scrutiny. Failure to follow medication administration policies when dealing with controlled substances can have serious legal and professional consequences. Nurses can face disciplinary action, including the loss of their nursing license.

That being said, it is important to maintain consistency in the discipline process, regardless of whether the medication in question is a controlled substance or not. The same policies should apply for patient harm or no patient harm. This is the underlying premise of the Just Culture algorithm. 

Policies should be in place that outlines the disciplinary process for nurses who fail to follow medication administration policies, regardless of the medication involved. This ensures that all staff members know what is expected of them and understand the potential consequences of their actions. It also helps to ensure that all medication errors are treated with the seriousness they deserve.

In conclusion, the discipline pathway should be the same for nurses who fail to follow medication administration policies, whether the medication in question is a controlled substance or not. By maintaining consistency in the process, healthcare organizations can ensure that all medication errors are treated fairly and justly. This helps to promote a culture of safety and accountability, which is essential for providing high-quality patient care.

Terri Vidals
Terri Vidals

Terri has been a pharmacist for over 30 years and is a drug diversion mitigation and monitoring subject matter expert. Her years of experience in various roles within hospital pharmacy have given her real-world insight into risk, compliance, and regulatory requirements, as well as best practices for medication and patient safety.

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