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Medication errors and syringe safety are nurses' top two concerns, according to a survey. Results from the 2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors show that 97% of nurses worry about medication errors and 68% think errors could be reduced with more consistent labeling of syringes.


Researchers surveyed 1,039 nurses to assess their concerns and experiences about syringe labeling. Forty-four percent of nurses surveyed say they inject drugs via syringes more than five times per shift, and more than one-third do so at least once per shift. Factors they identify as contributing to errors include a too-rushed, busy environment (78%); illegible handwriting (68%); missed or mistaken physician's orders (62%); working with too many drugs (60%); and similar drug names or appearance (56%).


Seventy-two percent of nurses say they label syringes when using them, mostly by writing on self-adhesive labels or tape and sticking it to the syringe. This doesn't meet The Joint Commission's labeling standards, which specify that the label should be affixed when the drug or solution is prepared.

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Full results from the survey, which was sponsored by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and Inviro Medical Devices, are available at the ANA's Web site, http://www.nursingworld.org/coeh/resources/.