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Medication study supports registered nurses’ competence for single checking


Associate Professor Heather Jarman, School of Nursing, Deakin University, Waterfront Campus, Geelong, Vic 3220, Australia. Email:


In 1999, a review of medication policies and practices for The Geelong Hospital, a Victorian regional acute care hospital, was conducted under the leadership and direction of the Executive Nursing Director. The findings of the review suggested that a study be conducted to examine the safety of single-person (registered nurse division 1) checking of a designated group of medications that had previously been double-checked. The present study was conducted as a descriptive study in adult inpatient units and speciality and midwifery services of The Geelong Hospital, and included the monitoring of medication errors for the designated group of medications under a single-person checking protocol for a 7-month period. A similar number of medication errors were reported when compared with a similar time-frame in which double-person checking was standard practice. At the completion of the study, a convenience sample of 129 nurses from the participating units and services completed questionnaires. The majority of the nurses appreciated the increased autonomy the change to single-person checking of medications provided. They also identified benefits for patients, including that they were able to be more responsive to patient needs.

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