News Release

During Pandemic, ISMP is Calling for Greater Attention to Medication Safety Challenges and Avoiding Culture of Blame

The rushed, overwhelming, and emotionally and physically draining nature of patient care during pandemic may be creating a greater risk for medication errors. The most recent Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Medication Safety Alert!® Acute Care newsletter presents one intensive care unit nurse’s perspective on the challenges involved during this unique period in healthcare, and provides ISMP error prevention recommendations. 

The nurse’s story illustrates how hospitals experiencing surges of COVID-19 patients may be facing unique medication safety challenges, including:

  • Constantly under-resourced healthcare environment

  • High nurse-to-patient ratios during staffing shortages

  • Influx of critical patients requiring multiple high-alert medication infusions

  • Medications stored in patient isolation rooms to conserve personal protective equipment by reducing need to retrieve items

The article provides ISMP strategies for anticipating risks due to altered workflow, especially those that might lead to concentration, programming, and other intravenous infusion-related errors. ISMP also recommends creating a streamlined reporting process that helps promote timely feedback and avoiding a recurring cycle of blame surrounding errors. Leaders and managers should support workers through the turmoil of the pandemic, and act as effective listeners and transparent communicators.

For a copy of the newsletter article, click here.

More News

Since the 2021-2022 influenza (flu) vaccine became available in September, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has received multiple reports of mix-ups. Some patients have consented to a flu vaccine but received one of the COVID-19 vaccines instead, while others have received the flue