The central part of the Joint Commission’s (2021) National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG) list is the goal titled “use medicines safely” (p. 1). The administration of prescribed medicines constitutes a huge part of nurses’ work, and this is the area where mistakes most often occur. The rationale behind goals on safe medication usage in nursing practice is to reduce the number of mistakes to zero. Medicines could be dangerous and lethal if administered to the wrong patient, so double-checking is essential.
The benefits of implementing the abovementioned NPSG are vast. Using this safety goal significantly reduces the risks that a wrong medication will be administered to a patient. Also, the nurses develop a habit of informing a patient about the medication they are to take. This way, patients may see for themselves what medication has been prescribed and ask the doctor if there is anything wrong (The Joint Commission, 2021). Thirdly, by labeling all the medication, the nurses can keep track of medicines they have at their disposal and see what medicines are coming to an end.
The main challenge of implementing the Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal on the safe use of medicines is a lack of time for nurses to double-check everything. Nowadays, when there are shortages of medical workers everywhere, nurses take care of many patients and, in their hurry, may forget to label medicines or give lists of prescribed medicines to respective patients. Another challenge is staff rotation when new-coming nurses need time to get used to their new duties.
The NSPG’s appropriate application reduces negative treatment outcomes in diverse ways. Labeling all medicines in “syringes, cups, and basins” reduces the room for medication mistakes linked with the human factor (The Joint Commission, 2021, p. 1). By addressing the lack of clear labels, the guideline removes the reason for unwanted outcomes stemming from workplace distractions, including side effects, health damages from adverse drug-drug interactions, and other outcomes to avoid. Next, if implemented correctly, the discussed goal eliminates situations in which information on patients’ previously taken medications is omitted when it comes to pharmaceutical treatment decisions (The Joint Commission, 2021). When this rule is strictly followed, healthcare practitioners align treatment recommendations with the patient’s overall medication use practices. It decreases the risk of producing recommendations that would involve harmful drug interactions, thus addressing the threat of ineffective treatment or subsequent admissions linked with drug toxicity.
The Joint Commission. (2021). Hospital National Patient Safety Goals.