Medication Errors and Syringe Safety Are Top Concerns for Nurses According to New National Study



    SILVER SPRING, MD., June 18 /CNW/ - The American Nurses Association (ANA)
(www.nursingworld.org) today announced the findings of the 2007 Study of
Injectable Medication Errors, an independent nationwide survey of 1,039
nurses. According to the research, the overwhelming majority of nurses (97
percent) say they "worry" about medication errors, and more than two-thirds
(68 percent) believe medication errors can be reduced with more consistent
syringe labeling.

    "Registered nurses play a critical role in the health care system. ANA's
Code of Ethics demands nurses take an active role in addressing the
environmental system factors and human factors that present increased risk to
patients," says Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, American Nurses Association
president. "Proper and consistent syringe labeling is one way to reduce risks
associated with medication errors."

    The 2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors was developed and
co-sponsored by ANA and Inviro Medical Devices (www.inviromedical.com), It was
designed to capture opinions, concerns and experiences about challenges
related to labeling on syringes, which has been a Joint Commission
recommendation since 2006. Results of the study can be downloaded at:
www.nursingworld.org.

    Injectable medication errors

    When asked about the point in the process medication errors are most
likely to occur, the majority of nurses say either during the preparation and
administering of medication to patients (48 percent), or during the
transcription of the initial order (47 percent).

    To help reduce injectable medication errors, the vast majority of nurses
(81 percent) believe their healthcare facility should ensure sufficient staff
is available for timely and efficient administration.

    Nurses indicate the most common factors contributing to injectable
medication errors are:

    --  Too rushed / busy environment (78 percent)

    --  Poor / illegible handwriting (68 percent)

    --  Missed or mistaken physician's orders (62 percent)

    --  Similar drug names or medication appearance (56 percent)

    --  Working with too many medications (60 percent)

    Frequency of syringe usage

    Nearly half (44 percent) of nurses say they inject medicine via a syringe
more than five times per shift, and more than one-third (37 percent)
administer injectable medication at least one time per shift.

    Labeling injectable medication

    Slightly more than one-third (37 percent) of nurses claim injectable
medications are always labeled. However, this study identified that as many as
28 percent of nurses nationwide do not label syringes when using them. Of the
72 percent who do, in fact, label syringes, they do so by:

    --  Writing on self-adhesive labels then applying to syringe (54 percent)

    --  Writing on pieces of tape and adhering to syringe (31 percent)

    --  Using Sharpie(R) and writing directly on syringe (11 percent)

    --  Writing on paper or sticky note and taping to syringe (4 percent)

    While 62 percent are aware of The Joint Commission's 2007 National
Patient Safety Goals addressing the labeling of all medications and medication
containers, only half (51 percent) of respondents are aware that The Joint
Commission has determined that the pre-labeling of syringes does not meet
labeling goals, since the label should be prepared only at the time the
medication or solution is prepared.

    Challenges of labeling

    Challenges often arise when attempting to label a syringe. Labels
covering measurement gradations on the syringe barrel pose the greatest
problem (65 percent). Fifty-five percent of nurses consider the absence of a
suitable label poses the greatest challenge, while 39 percent think a label
impairs their ability to accurately check the dosage when comparing it to the
order.

    Benefits of a write-on stripe

    When nurses were asked their opinions about a write-on stripe
manufactured on the syringe, the vast majority (95 percent) believe the
greatest benefit is the fact that it would not interfere with visibility of
the syringe content or gradations on the syringe barrel. Ninety-three percent
believe it will reduce the risk of error, while 92 percent of nurses say a
write-on stripe also helps address The Joint Commission's goal for medication
labeling.

    "This research confirms that our healthcare systems need new technology
that simply and efficiently improves patient and employee safety," says Gareth
Clarke, chief executive officer of Inviro Medical Devices. "To help address
the challenges associated with injectable medication errors and to comply with
The Joint Commission's goal for medication labeling, we are adding the
InviroSTRIPE(R) feature -- an integral write-on stripe that allows for
critical information to be recorded directly onto the syringe barrel -- to our
full range of InviroSNAP!(R) safety syringes and our standard luer lock
syringes."

    Nurses Influence on selection of sharps devices

    Eighty-one percent of nurses reveal that safety syringes are used in most
or all departments within their healthcare facility. Even though the 2000
Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act - (NSPA), adopted as public law 106-430
by the 106th Congress, mandates that institutions conduct annual product
reviews and that nurses be involved in the decision-making process, the
majority of nurses (58 percent) say they do not have an opportunity to
influence the selection of sharps safety devices used at their healthcare
facility.

    Additional health and safety concerns

    According to 65 percent of nurses, health and safety concerns play a key
role in determining the specific area in which they choose to work, as well as
their decision to continue practicing.

    The top four health and safety concerns for nurses nationwide are acute /
chronic effects of stress and overwork (72 percent), back injuries (67
percent), infection of tuberculosis or other infectious disease (38 percent),
and getting HIV or hepatitis from a needlestick injury (35 percent).

    The study also reveals that 55 percent of nurses have experienced
needlestick injuries from needles contaminated by blood or body fluids.

    "We are honored to support ANA's goal to continue bringing value to its
members by addressing topical workplace issues with this survey," shares Jean
McDowell, vice president of clinical affairs for Inviro Medical Devices.
"Inviro Medical will apply the input secured from front-line nurses to further
improve our safe medication delivery systems."

    "This study clearly indicates a need for the right safety equipment --
especially in regard to injectables -- to reduce the risk of medication errors
and sharps-related injuries," adds Patton.

    About the survey

    Conducted in April, the 2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors is
based on an online, nationwide survey of nurses. The study is sponsored by the
American Nurses Association, with support provided by Inviro Medical Devices.
The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

    Of the 1,039 nurses surveyed:

    --  22 percent have been a nurse for one to five years

    --  12 percent have been nurses for 6 to 10 years

    --  15 percent have been nurses for 11 to 15 years

    --  51 percent have been nurses for more than 15 years

    About American Nurses Association

    The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the only full-service
professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 2.9
million registered nurses through its 54 constituent member nurses'
associations. The ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high
standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the
workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by
lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting
nurses and the public.

    About Inviro Medical Devices

    Founded in 1988, Inviro Medical Devices engineers and markets safe
medication delivery systems, including the InviroSNAP!(R) with InviroSTRIPE(R)
Safety Syringes. After years of research to develop its patents and refine its
product designs, the company is addressing the growing $1.6 billion safety
syringe market and introducing its breakthrough infection control technology
in North America. Headquartered in Atlanta, Inviro Medical Devices is becoming
a leading industry champion in the quest to increase infection control
awareness and to protect healthcare workers, patients and the environment with
innovative medical devices. For more information, visit www.inviromedical.com.

    Editor's Note - Camera-ready charts and graphs of key findings from the
2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors are available by contacting Media
Contacts listed on page 1.

    MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:
http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5427667




For further information:

For further information: American Nurses Association Mary McNamara,
301-628-5598 mary.mcnamara@ana.org or Inviro Medical Devices Wetherhead
Communications Debra Patterson, 404-843-8786 debrapat@aol.com

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AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION

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