10 Rights of Drug Administration

Understanding the 10 Rights of Drug Administration can help prevent many medication errors. Nurses, who are primarily involved in the administration of medications, benefit from this simplified memory aid to help guide them to administer medications safely.

Nurses are responsible for ensuring safe and quality patient care at all times. As many nursing tasks involve a degree of risk, medication administration arguably carries the greatest risk. Research on medical administration errors (MAEs) showed that there is a 60% error rate mainly in the form of wrong time, rate, or dose. Some medication errors cause permanent disability and for others the errors are fatal. Follow these 10 rights of drug administration to ensure safe patient care.

 1. Right Drug.

The first right of drug administration is to check and verify if it’s the right name and form. Beware of look-alike and sound-alike medication names. Misreading medication names that look similar is a common mistake. These look-alike medication names may also sound alike and can lead to errors associated with verbal prescriptions. Check out The Joint Commission’s list of look-alike/sound-alike drugs.

 2. Right Patient.

Ask the name of the client and check his/her ID band before giving the medication. Even if you know that patient’s name, you still need to ask just to verify.

 3. Right Dose.

Check the medication sheet and the doctor’s order before medicating. Be aware of the difference between an adult and a pediatric dose.

 4. Right Route.

Check the order if it’s oral, IV, SQ, IM, etc..

 5. Right Time and Frequency.

Check the order for when it would be given and when was the last time it was given.

 6. Right Documentation.

Make sure to write the time and any remarks on the chart correctly.

 7. Right History and Assessment.

Secure a copy of the client’s history to drug interactions and allergies.

 8. Drug approach and Right to Refuse.

Give the client enough autonomy to refuse the medication after thoroughly explaining the effects.

 9. Right Drug-Drug Interaction and Evaluation.

Review any medications previously given or the diet of the patient that can yield a bad interaction to the drug to be given. Check also the expiry date of the medication being given.

 10. Right Education and Information.

Provide enough knowledge to the patient of what drug he/she would be taking and what are the expected therapeutic and side effects.

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