At The Patients Bedside

After medication is prepared, it is taken to the patient's room where the nurse administers the medication to the patient. In doing so, the nurse must follow precautions to assure that the medication is administered safely. Here's how it is done:

1. Wash your hands.

2. Introduce yourself to the patient.

3. Ask the patient to state his/her complete name. Don't assist the patient by saying, "are you Mr. Jones." The patient should say his/her name without your help if possible.

4. Compare the patient's name and number on the patient's identification band against the patient's name and number on the MAR.

5. Ask the patient if he or she has any allergies to food or medication. The patient may be aware of food allergies such as shellfish, but unaware of allergies to medication. However, patients who are allergic to shellfish are also allergic to some medications.

6. Examine the patient's identification band to see if the patient has allergies. Allergies may be noted on the identification band.

7. Assist the patient into a comfortable position to administer the medication.

8. Ask the patient if he/she knows about the medication and why the medication is being administered. The patient's response provides insight into knowledge the patient has about his/her condition and treatment. This gives the nurse a perfect opportunity to educate the patient about his/her condition, treatment and medication.

9. Make sure that the patient sees the medication if it is a tablet or liquid. Stop immediately if the patient doesn't recognize the medication as the drug the patient received previously. Recheck the order. The dose may have changed, a different medication was substituted, or there is an error in the medication.

10. Make sure you have baseline vital signs, labs, and other patient data before administering the medication. To determine the patient's reaction to the drug, the baseline can be compared to vital signs, labs, and other patient data taken after the patient receives the medication.

11. Instruct the patient about side effects of the medication and take precautions to assure the patient's safety such as raising the side rails and instructing the patient to remain in bed until the side effects subside.

12. Stay with the patient until all the medications are swallowed. Remember that the patient has the right to refuse medication. Notify the prescriber if this occurs.

13. Properly dispose of the medication and supplies used to administer the medication. Don't leave the medication at the patient's bedside unless required by the medication order.

14. Wash hands before leaving the patient's room.

15. Document in the MAR that you administered the medication to the patient.

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