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Keywords:

  • Medication errors;
  • Paediatric nurses;
  • Safe medication practice

Abstract

Aim

To explore nurses’ experiences of handling medications in paediatric clinical practice, with a focus on factors that hinder and facilitate safe medication practices.

Methods

Twenty nurses (registered nurses) from four paediatric wards at two hospitals in Sweden were interviewed in focus groups. The interviews were analysed using content analysis.

Results

Six themes emerged from the analysed interviews: the complexity specific for nurses working on paediatric wards is a hindrance to safe medication practices; nurses’ concerns about medication errors cause a considerable psychological burden; the individual nurse works hard for safe medication practices and values support from other nurse colleagues; circumstances out of the ordinary are perceived as critical challenges for maintaining patient safety; nurses value clear instructions, guidelines and routines, but these are often missing, variable or changeable; management, other medical professionals, the pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry and informatics support need to respond to the requirements of the nurses’ working situations to improve safe medication practices.

Conclusion

Weaknesses were apparent in the long chain of the medication-delivery process. A joint effort by different professions involved in that delivery process, and a nationwide collaboration between hospitals is recommended to increase safe medication practices in paediatric care.