An exploration of registered nurse preparation for safe medication management
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This descriptive study examined the perceptions of new graduate registered nurses (RNs) about medication error identification, causes, and reporting; as well as the nursing education and workplace orientation experiences they believed prepared them to safely manage medications. The study also explored how prelicensure RN nursing education and hospital orientation programs in North Carolina (NC) prepared nurses to manage medications safely. The theory of situated cognition provided the organizing framework. Data were collected from the three participant groups (new graduate RNs, schools of nursing, and hospitals) using online surveys, and respondents included 131 new graduate RNs, 35 schools of nursing, and 20 hospitals/hospital systems in NC.
Descriptive analyses of data from the modified Gladstone scale revealed that nurses were confident in their ability to identify and report a medication error, but inconsistently identified or reported errors when presented with medication management scenarios. Distinct differences were found between the content topics, teaching strategies, activities, and equipment used by nursing education and workplace orientation programs to teach or review medication management and what was identified as effective preparation experiences by new graduate RNs.
An opportunity for improvement in nurse preparation for safe medication management was identified based on the differences between nurse-reported effective experiences for safe medication management preparation and what is being provided by nursing education and orientation programs. Implementing teaching strategies students identified as effective, such as increasing interactive experiences, use of real-world case scenarios, and clinical problem-solving, into the classroom may create a better fit with current student learning styles and ultimately safer nursing care.
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