Within the world of nursing, there are some concepts that are sacrosanct. One of those is the nurse’s ability to provide the appropriate level of care to a patient so that the patient’s humanity is respected. Nursing is ultimately a practice in which professionals are put in some ways between a rock and a hard place. Good nursing professionals are there to ensure that people are treated well, given medically necessary care, but also that people have their rights respected to such an extent that they feel valued in the process. With this in mind, the seven “rights” of medication administration are not so much about the rights of the patient, but rather, about the right things that nurses should do to ensure that the patient is treated well and no mistakes are made. Above all, patients deserve to be treated by nurses who demonstrate competence and display a certain amount of skill. This is where the seven rights of medication administration come into play.
The first “right” is choosing the right medication. Many mistakes can be made in regard to this right. Medications with similar names can have vastly different effects, so getting this right is critical (Kim & Bates, 2013). Choosing the right medication is also about ensuring that the medication is one that a nurse actually prepares. One can never be sure that the medication is right unless they have had a hand in its preparation.
The second “right” is choosing the right patient. There is some level of repetition that must take place in this regard, but nurses work with many patients every day, so mistakes can happen. Asking the patient to confirm their name and identifying information is an important step for avoiding problems in this regard.
Next is getting the right dosage. If too much of the right medicine is administered, the person can suffer from major problems. The best rule of thumb for nurses is to ensure that the doctor signs off on any dosage elements. If there is ever a doubt as to whether the nurse is doing the right thing, then asking questions and consulting a physician is the right move.
The next right is the proper route of administration. There are specific reasons why different patients have various rights of administration (Keers et al, 2013). It remains critical to get the route right to ensure that the medication is administered as effectively as possible. Along those same lines is making sure the right time of administration is ensured. Some medicines can be potentially fatal if they are taken too often. Beyond that, some patients will have surgeries scheduled and other procedures in which they need to ensure that their medicine is taken at the proper time. By knowing the right time, a nurse can make sure that the patient is given the full benefit of the medication, that the patient does not run into unnecessary complications, and that the patient is prepared for whatever is going to happen with that patient during the course of the treatment otherwise (Lilley et al, 2014).
Knowing the right reason is also critical. Nurses are sometimes trained to just follow instructions, but in truth, nurses can be an important check against problems in the system. If nurses have an understanding not only of what is being administered, but also why, they can prevent mistakes when other medical professionals are not as careful as they should be.
Finally, there has to be the right documentation. This includes questions like what, when, why, who, and the like. Documentation is critical not only to protect the hospital and the nurse, but to make sure that the patient is getting the best possible care. It keeps everyone honest and ensures that the nurse and doctors are doing their jobs properly.