Improving patient safety using the sterile cockpit principle during medication administration: a collaborative, unit-based project
Article first published online: 28 MAY 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Nursing Management
Special Issue: This issue: Promoting excellence - Evidence-based Practice at the Bedside and Beyond Issue editors: Kristiina Hyrkas and James P. Rhudy Jr
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 106–111, January 2013
How to Cite
FORE, A. M., SCULLI, G. L., ALBEE, D. and NEILY, J. (2013), Improving patient safety using the sterile cockpit principle during medication administration: a collaborative, unit-based project. Journal of Nursing Management, 21: 106–111. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01410.x
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 28 MAY 2012
- Accepted for publication: 13 February 2012
- crew resource management;
- medication administration;
- patient safety
Aim To implement the sterile cockpit principle to decrease interruptions and distractions during high volume medication administration and reduce the number of medication errors.
Background While some studies have described the importance of reducing interruptions as a tactic to reduce medication errors, work is needed to assess the impact on patient outcomes.
Methods Data regarding the type and frequency of distractions were collected during the first 11 weeks of implementation. Medication error rates were tracked 1 year before and after 1 year implementation.
Results Simple regression analysis showed a decrease in the mean number of distractions, (β = −0.193, P = 0.02) over time. The medication error rate decreased by 42.78% (P = 0.04) after implementation of the sterile cockpit principle.
Conclusions The use of crew resource management techniques, including the sterile cockpit principle, applied to medication administration has a significant impact on patient safety.
Implications for nursing management Applying the sterile cockpit principle to inpatient medical units is a feasible approach to reduce the number of distractions during the administration of medication, thus, reducing the likelihood of medication error. ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs and vests are inexpensive, simple interventions that can be used as reminders to decrease distractions.