Trial reduces medication errors
Caboolture Hospital Nurse Unit Manager Colleen Herrmann is inspiring nurses to include research in their day-to-day duties having taken on an Associate Investigator role in a research study in collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast.
The project is investigating how nurses read medical prescriptions on the ward using a visual enhancement aid, iCheck, which helps clinicians read medication
orders more clearly.
Ms Herrmann has no prior participation in research but sees it as a strong driver towards improving patient care and workplace culture. She’s proof that someone with significant experience can inspire staff to include research in their daily role.
“Medication errors are a result of a multitude of circumstances and one of the leading causes is the misreading labels and prescriptions,” Ms Herrmann said.
“I have found the iCheck beneficial to check the expiry on well-used alfoil packaging on controlled drugs. Dates are so hard to read sometimes especially when the date stamp has nearly been obliterated.”
Before starting the project, USC PhD Candidate and Principal Investigator Heather Borradale assessed the degree of lighting within various parts of the ward to
determine what areas would benefit from the iCheck.
The only area that had sufficient level of lighting was the medication room and the desk area during the day.
Participating in the research project has confirmed Ms Herrmann’s belief that clinicians – especially nurses – needed to be more proactive about being involved
in research. She is encouraging staff to use the iCheck as least two or three times during their shift to see the difference it made when reading ampoules and labels in different lighting environments.
“It is great that this particular research project has been initiated by a nurse for the benefit of both nurses and patient safety,” Ms Herrmann said.
“Nurses need to take up every opportunity to participate in research – we are front line clinicians and need to explore all avenues of our profession to improve care delivery and safety for our patients.”