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Difference in medication error rates between RNs and LPNs

Dec 31, 2015 | Nursing Negligence

New Yorkers might be interested in a new study about nurses working in nursing homes. The study compared medication reconciliation errors made by licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.

Researchers from the University of Missouri were trying to see if there was a difference in injuries resulting from medication reconciliation errors depending on the licensure level of the nurse performing the reconciliations. They reported that as much as 66 percent of injuries in nursing homes result from adverse effects of administered drugs. RNs and LPNs who work in nursing homes complete medication reconciliation checks to catch medication errors that could lead to such adverse effects.

The researchers found that RNs found more errors than did LPNs. Nursing homes generally use RNs and LPNs to complete the same types of job duties. The researchers recommend that RNs should instead be focused on assessment and prevention while LPNs should be more focused on care tasks to best utilize the skills of each. The study involved 12 nursing homes in Missouri along with 70 LPNs and 32 RNs.

Many nursing home residents take a number of different medications that must be administered them each day. Medication reconciliation checks are designed to prevent drug interactions and overdose that could result in significant injury to the resident. When a life-threatening mistake is made with medication, the person may suffer serious injury or death. These types of errors can occur in hospitals as well as in nursing homes. People who are injured because of medication errors have the ability to seek recovery by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the health care practitioner as well as the facility. People may want to have the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney in such a situation.