7 rights of medication

7 Rights of Medication Administration for Nurses

The medication administration process can cause some challenges for nurses. Read and follow the below 7 rights of medication to make the process easier.

Updated at November 8, 2022

There should never be too much care when it comes to the safe treatment of medications, especially when considering that up to 10% of patients may undergo undesirable side effects, and that study indicates that administration inconsistencies account for 60% of all medication errors.

It is critical to the health and well-being of the individuals you provide support for that you be knowledgeable about drugs and understand how to assist them in the appropriate use of medications. Direct Support Professionals (also known as DSPs) can prevent medication mistakes when they adhere to the 7 rights of medication during supporting a patient with the self-administration of medicine. Follow this article to have a better comprehension of these rights.

7 rights of medication

Medication Administration

The procedure of administering medicine comes with a significant number of responsibilities since it requires knowledge of not just which drug is required to be given but also to whom, and when. It could seem daunting to try to keep all of the information that you require to maintain in your head, but you must do so. We strongly suggest that you get aware of the 7 rights of medication to safeguard not only your patients but also yourself while administering medication.

Right Individual

A step that is extremely significant in the process of medicine delivery is ensuring that you have the appropriate person. Before giving medicine to a patient, it is usual practice to confirm their identity with at least 2 other sources and then proceed with the procedure. Even the most seasoned nurse is susceptible to making a mistake when they are overworked, exhausted, or juggling many patients at once. 

No matter how much expertise you have, you should always ensure that you are providing the correct drug to the appropriate patient.

Right Medication

It is of the utmost importance to ensure that you have the appropriate medicine, but there are many reasons for this. Patients may each have their different medical allergies, side reactions, and unexpected symptoms, all of which have the potential to have disastrous outcomes. Ensure you are giving the appropriate medicine to the patient by reading the drug’s label, double-checking the patient’s records, and ensuring that you are giving the proper dosage.

Right Dose

The appropriate dosage is of the utmost significance as well, given that an incorrect dosage may result in the patient receiving an excessive amount of the medication, which may be detrimental to their health. The right dosage of the patient’s medicine should be indicated in their file, and you should also be aware of the appropriate route of administration for the patient’s prescription. Are they getting their medicine in the form of tablets, via an IV, or in liquid form that they swallow? Different dosages are necessary for each of these approaches.

Right Time

Certain drugs must be administered at the same time each day or in connection to the patient’s meals. Although not all medications may need this guideline, you must be aware of it if the patient is to get their drug at a certain time.

Ensure to record the precise moment the drug was administered. Contact the pharmacist, the dispensing physician, or the nursing administrator to confirm if there is no indication of when you should provide it. Record it in the prescription log so the caregiver who comes after you is aware of when to provide the next dosage of the drug. If the time is indicated on the bottle, compare it to the order and administer the drug at the time mentioned in the order. Contact the pharmacist or the prescription physician for confirmation if the timings between these two events don’t line up.

When you make a mistake, you must abide by your agency’s policy about administering medicine at an inappropriate time. In general, you must provide the drug within a ½ of the scheduled time. If you are administering a drug periodically, verify the patient’s record to determine the last time they had the drug, and then follow the instructions.

7 rights of medication

Right Route

This has to do with where and how the patient is administered the drug. Although not all drugs, the majority of them are taken orally. The drug may be injected via the vagina, the rectum, the skin, the eyes, the ears, the lungs, or the ear canal. If the patient is using an NG tube, ensure the drug will fit through the tube and only smash it if the pharmacist gives the go-ahead.

Constantly check the drug’s route against the one mentioned on the medical record and record how you administered the medicine. Contact the pharmacist or prescription doctor for further information if the route shown on the bottle does not resemble the route in the prescription. When you have made a mistake, go by your agency’s guidelines for incorrectly administering a drug.

Examine the label on the bottle when you are administering drugs at the same time but using various routes to ensure you are using the correct medication and route. When administering eye drops and ear drops, for instance, administer the eye drops first, put them away, and then provide the ear drops.

Right Documentation

Anytime you administer a drug, you must record it. This record must be completed at the moment the medication is provided, not before or after. Make your notes in blue or black ink, and if you make a mistake, never erase it with a pencil or whiteout. If you make a mistake in your documentation and fix it, circle the error and write a note that you did so. Also, note how you fixed it. Never erase any writing from any documentation you create or rewrite it.

Verify (proofread) your documents to ensure that you accurately recorded everything. Ask another practitioner to review your records if one is accessible. If you make a mistake, adhere to your agency’s document error guidelines.

Right Response

The last thing to consider, although by no means the least important, is how the patient reacts to the drug that is being given to them. When a patient is given medicine, their reaction should always be documented so that everyone who is treating the patient is aware of it. In addition, the extent to which the medicine helps the patient should be noted so that progress may be made in determining which medications are effective and which are not. 

Final Words: How to Optimize the Process?

Besides adhering 7 rights of medication, how to optimize the medicine administrating process? First, ensure that you talk with the patient and express the dosage purpose before administering it. Try to address the patient’s queries if they have any about the medicine or its side effects.

As patients may be required to keep taking this medicine after they leave the hospital, try to include the patient in the drug administration procedure. Ensure that you’re administering the drug in a private setting and are not disturbed during the process. Keep the medicine in your line of sight at all times, and never leave the room without taking it with you. Carefully wash your hands thoroughly before distributing medicine and again after the patient has received it.

Retrieve the pills or fluid from the locked cabinet where they are kept and compare the container to the patient’s prescription before administering the medicine. You should double-check the prescription label against the medication order before administering or pouring the drug into the medicine cup. Examine the prescriptions and the label on the medicine bottle shortly before administering the drug to the patient, but once it has been put in the drug cup, ensure you are providing the patient with the right medicine.

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