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Safe Medication Administration and Pharmacology Tips

October 6th, 2010 by – Derek Brocklehurst

Hello! I am curious about how to get more knowledge about pharmacology and how to better my nursing skills in regards to medication administration in the clinical setting. Thanks.

Administering medications is quite possibly the most important thing you will do to a patient as a nurse. Medication administration typically requires two nurses, or health care professionals, to approve the administration after you receive the prescription order. This system of double-checking helps with quality improvement measures and assures patient safety.

I would recommend reading your institution’s formulary on a daily basis, especially if there is a medication one of your patients is taking and you’re not sure what the indication is. Carrying around a small, pocket-sized updated medication handbook isn’t a bad idea either.

When administering medications, always remember the 5 “rights”: check for the right patient against their hospital bracelet and a verbal name recognition, check for the right medication that is being administered (some drugs have similar names, like Celebrex and Celexa, so be cautious!), check that it is the right time and frequency of administration (good to distinguish between “TID” and “q8h”), check that the right dose is being given (discern between 40mg and 40mcg or 40g), and check that the drug is being given through the right route (PO vs. IM vs. SQ). Remembering all of these steps will ensure a safe and correct medication administration!

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