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North Carolina RNs may be key to reducing medication errors

Studies have shown that 37 percent of adverse events in nursing facilities, including falls, hypoglycemic episodes and bleeding, were related to medications. Medication issues in North Carolina can come from prescription errors, dosage errors or not ensuring that other drugs will not interact poorly with a particular medication. A study in Missouri indicates that registered nurses, or RNs, may be better able to find high-risk medication errors than licensed practical nurses, or LPNs.

The study, which involved 70 LPNs and 32 RNs, indicated that the RNs were more likely to identify harmful medication errors. This means that nursing facilities may want to consider tasking RNs with medication reconciliation, which is a process where medication records of patients are reviewed in an effort to prevent adverse events.

One reason that RNs may be better at identifying these problems is that LPNs and RNs have different focuses. While LPNs tend to be task oriented, RNs are generally more focused on patient safety and assessments. Along with indicating that RNs might be better suited for medication reconciliation, the study also appears to show that healthcare facilities should consider not using RNs and LPNs interchangeably, which is a common practice.

Whether someone is harmed due to anesthesia errors or medical negligence, the consequences can be very severe for a patient. People may develop new medical conditions, have current conditions worsen or, in some extreme instances, die as a result of a mistake. If someone has been harmed due to the actions of a doctor or medical professional, they may have legal recourse. A lawyer could explain what determines if the actions of a physician are malpractice and what their options are.

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