Summary

Assessing the patient is the first step when administering medication. Assure that the patient is receiving the proper medication and proper dose because the patient's condition might have changed since the prescriber assessed the patient.

The assessment is divided into two areas. First, a general assessment is required and then assess for specific medications. The general assessment determines several factors that include the right drug, dose, and route for the patient. The assessment also determines contraindications, side effects, and adverse effects, of the medication. The specific assessment examines the pharmacologic response of the medication in relation to the patient's capability to absorb, distribute, metabolize, and excrete the medication.

Once the nurse has determined that medication is proper for the patient, the nurse prepares to administer the medication by verifying the prescriber's medication order and comparing it to other medications that the patient received to determine potential interactions. The nurse also determines if the patient has allergies to the medication.

The medication is prepared in a quiet place without any interruptions. At the bedside, the nurse follows safety procedures that assure the medication is being administered to the proper patient. The nurse verifies the patient's identity and that the patient knows why the medication is being given. Baseline data (such as vital signs, and labs) is obtained by the nurse. They will be compared to similar data collected after the onset of the medication.

The nurse will monitor the patient after the medication is administered and look for signs and symptoms of adverse reactions to the medication.

Now that you have a good understanding of how to administer medication, in the next chapter we'll take a look at the different routes used to administered medication.

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