There are several guidelines that nurses in New Mexico can use to avoid making medication errors. They should ensure that the right medication is given to the right patient at the right time, by the correct route and in the correct dosage. They should also verify these factors when a patient is transferred with medical reconciliation forms.

It is a good practice to have another nurse or doctor read the order back. Nurses should double or even triple check procedures on a new shift and use name alerts when patients have similar names that could lead to confusion regarding medication.

Some approaches result in greater clarity such as putting a zero in front of decimal points so that amounts such as .25 mg and 25 mg are not confused. Documentation is critical including labeling medication correctly and noting its administration. Nurses should read labels and expiration dates, and they should also make certain that medicines are stored properly.

Every institution has policies and guidelines regarding how medication is administered, and nurses should familiarize themselves with them. There are also guidelines such as look-alike medicine lists that may help nurses avoid errors. Finally, having a drug guide available makes it easy to quickly look up valuable information such as drug interactions.

Medication errors may have serious consequences for a patient. This might be due to life-threatening drug interactions, or it may be the wrong medication for the condition. Wrong doses, a failure to consider allergies and mistakes in dosage amounts might all lead to a patient’s poor prognosis or even death. A family or a patient who feels the medication error was a case of medical malpractice might want to discuss their concerns with an attorney in order to determine the recourse that may be available.