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January 29, 2021

Practice Expectation Spotlight

Practice Expectation Spotlight: Reaction to a Medication Error

Yesterday, Gurpreet Turgen RN, caught a colleague’s medication error before it reached the client. Typically, she sees herself as an RN who will mind her own business until there is a need to step in. She knows she can get a little worked up about med errors, so when she had to interrupt the med administration, she was not surprised that the other RN initially reacted with some alarm. However, she got more concerned as the shift progressed because the other RN became super quiet and increasingly irritable. She wondered if this signaled that something more was going on with him. She wants to reach out to him to show that we all can recover from near misses and mistakes.

Please answer and reflect on the question below.

If you chose any or all of the answers, you are correct.

  1. Gurpreet’s decision to interrupt a potential med error demonstrates responsibility. Her awareness that she can get “a little worked up” offers the chance to reflect whether she can practice other approaches and/or debrief with her colleague so as to ensure her approach comes across with respect.
  2. Gurpreet’s desire to reach out to the other RN can lead her to change her more typical pattern to “mind her own business” especially where it adds to overall client safety and improved care. She could also check in with her own mentoring or coaching skills as these would support her approach with others.
  3. RN development of our competence continues throughout our career. Medication safety, mentoring, communication are some of the many areas this situation highlights for potential competence enhancement.
  4. Gurpreet’s communication was timely, given that she stopped a potential med error from reaching the client. From the above description, it is not clear whether the client was informed or how the client was involved in their care, which is are also important communication responsibilities.

For this spotlight, responsibilities from the Professional practice and professional communication expectations were highlighted.

  • Professional Practice Registered nurses are accountable and responsible for nursing practice that is informed by evidence and demonstrates competence.
  • Professional Communication Registered nurses are accountable and responsible to use professional communication.

However, you may think that other responsibilities apply too, and you would be correct. This example demonstrates that our Practice Expectations are at work in every practice situation we encounter. And with every situation, there is the opportunity to demonstrate accountability with our multiple responsibilities.


CRNM. Practice Expectations.