Making mistakes in health care tends to be frowned upon more than any other career, the general public simply do not tolerate any form of mistakes which could threaten the life of their love one, or anything which could disfigure or cause pain and discomfort. We are only human, and humans make mistakes, this is not taken into consideration when you make a mistake in the hospital. Upper management will act swiftly. Nurses do get terminated quickly when mistakes happen, especially when a death occurs. It is the first response by management and the legal department of the hospital. At times the error is investigated, with the RN in question being suspended-normally without pay.  Times are changing, with Hospitals encouraging staff to report near misses and errors, with the aim to prevent medication errors. Encouragement to self-report medication errors is more often seen in hospitals these days, with reports going to the risk management department who investigate the probability of it happening again. Often policy and procedures/protocols/guidelines will be implemented or changed to prevent further occurrences. Research has shown medication errors increase when work more than 12 hours.

Always remember the five R’s:


  1. Right patient

    Check name bands do not give medication to a patient without a name band. Ask them their name and DOB if they are able to confirm-make sure the name band and the patient match up! Verify the patient details with the MAR. You can never be too careful. Check their allergies!

  2. Right Drug

    Make sure you have the correct drug! If the medication was dispensed out of the Pixis remember a human had to load the Pixis-they can make mistakes too! 

  3. Right Dose

    Check to make sure you have the right strength of drug, the right amount of the drug and the expiry date of the drug. This is especially important if you are administering it IV. Know the therapeutic strength of the drug you are giving-double check orders.

  4. Right time

    Give drugs on time, check when the patient last had the drug. Giving a drug too soon can have serious consequences and potentially lead to overdose. Giving a drug too late is not therapeutic.

  5. Right Route

    Make sure you know if drug is to be given orally, PR, PV, SC, IM, IV and so on! There are many routes drugs can be given. IV drug errors are instant and very difficult to reverse. Respect medication which is given IV-our drugs tend to be powerful.

If you ever find yourself in any kind of Legal issues please contact Illinois Nurse Defense Attorney James Goldberg at 312-735 -1185 or visit his website for more information.