The Effects of “To Err is Human” in Nursing Practice
As we all know as nurses we are the glue in the area of patient safety, care and delivery in any healthcare setting. As nurses we are there from moment-to-moment at the patients bedside, we support the physicians’ diagnosis and we carry out the numerous orders set before us. Indeed, on a moment-to-moment basis, we are usually more aware of the patient safety issues in our hospital and other healthcare settings than the doctors are.
In 1999 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report entitled To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System that exposed the number of errors that are made on a daily basis within a health care organization that are both reported and unreported (Wakefield, 2008). This report stated (Wakefield, 2008)” that 44,000 to 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year as a result of medical errors, making them the 5th to 8th leading cause of death in the United States. To put these numbers in context, medical errors are estimated to cause more deaths each year than breast cancer, AIDS, or motor vehicle accidents. About 7,000 people are estimated to die each year from medication errors alone—approximately 16% more than the number attributable to work-related injuries”. This report not only augmented awareness to the intensity and extent of medical errors, it also shaped a set of recommendations and strategies to improve patient safety.
In the facility I work the Pyxis system is utilized to decrease the incidence of medication errors. The Pyxis is a large medication dispensing cabinet that the nurse has to log into with his/her name and password or with his/her name and a bio-metric fingerprint. The nurse then locates the patients medication profile that the pharmacy has set up with the patients medications as per the physicians orders through Pyxis connect. This system accurately dispenses the medications ordered for the patient; this has reduced medication errors...