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Key Questions When Administering Medications Cheat Sheet by

Key to avoiding medication dministration errors
administration     error     healthcare     medication     avoidance

Key Questions

General Question
What Nurse needs to know
Goal
Who
Who is the patient? This means: What is the patient's age, sex, and mental health and physical health status? Are there any factors that could contra­ind­icate this medication being admini­stered?
Ensure that the medication is approp­riate for the patient's needs, keeping in mind factors such as physio­logical issues (e.g., ability to absorb oral medica­tions), bioche­mical issues (e.g., other medica­tions the patient takes), and social factors (e.g., the patient's known religious or cultural prefer­ences) that may affect whether an ordered medication is approp­riate for a given patient.
 
Is this patient the same individual for whom the medication was ordered?
Avoid admini­stering the ordered medication to the wrong patient
What
What medication is to be delivered to this patient?
Ensure that the correct medication is admini­stered in accordance with the prescr­iption or orders of the prescr­iber.
 
What dose was requested on the medication order?
Ensure that the dose admini­stered is in accordance with the orders of the prescriber and allows cross-­che­cking that the dose ordered is approp­riate for patient needs.
When
When is the approp­riate time to administer this medica­tion?
Avoid admini­stering medication too freque­ntly, too infreq­uently, at inappr­opriate times of day, or in inappr­opriate combin­ation with another medica­tion.
 
What duration of admini­str­ation was ordered for this medica­tion?
Avoid delivering a medication for a longer or shorter duration than was ordered by the prescr­iber.
 
When did this patient last have a dose of this (or any) medica­tion?
Avoid overme­dic­ation or potential intera­ctions between medica­tions.
How
In what manner is this medication typically admini­stered?
Avoid selection of inappr­opriate delivery proced­ure­s(e.g., intram­uscular injection for a medication intended for intrav­enous delivery)
 
Which route of delivery was ordered for this patient?
Ensure that the medication is delivered via the route ordered by the prescr­iber.
 
Do any factors contra­ind­icate the ordered delivery route in this patient?
Avoid using inappr­opriate methods of medication delivery.
Why
What condition is the medication intended to treat?
Avoid using medica­tions that are not indicated for a particular condition.
 
What is the response that is expected from the use of this medica­tion?
Ensuring that unexpected or unintended actions (e.g., medication allergy) are noted and treated as necessary in a timely fashion
Note: If any of these questions is overlooked before medication is admini­stered, the potential for a medication error increases.

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