According to Joanne Mette, chief nursing officer at Kaiser Permanente in Hayward and Fremont [California] . . . nurses can be interrupted five to 10 times in the course of giving one medication. Her story, and that of other San Francisco bay area hospitals attempting to reduce medication errors is featured in this San Francisco Chronicle report entitled, ‘Prescription for success: Don’t bother nurses,’ by Victoria Colliver.
While bedside barcode systems are helping to make sure the right medication is matched to the right patient, nurses are saying that constant interruptions often keep them from doing all five rights:Right Patient, Right Drug, Right Dose, Right Route, Right Time. Therefore, in addition to high tech solutions, the nurses have turned to some new and easy common sense procedures:
Striving to reduce interruptions that lead to mistakes, teams of nurses at the different hospitals came up with a variety of methods – often surprisingly low tech – to alert others they were administering medications. The strategies included everything from wearing brightly colored vests or sashes to establishing “quiet zones” or making announcements at key points in the day when medications are being administered.