Interruptions During Medication in Nursing

At Hampton VA Medical Center, Community Living Center (CLC), during drug administration to dementia patients, nurses face many interruptions. Due to the lack of the opportunity to fully focus on the patient and complete the procedure to the end, the risk of medication errors increases. In the CLC, the nurse needed to administer several medications for each patient but was interrupted throughout this complex process. During the observation of the nurses’ work, it was noted that interruptions during medication occurred two or three times daily. This was due to the fact that due to the insufficient number of medical staff, nurses had to be distracted by other patients. Following the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS, 2017), nurses must ensure the safe and effective use of drugs. CMS (2017) also describes consequences or events related to medication as a severe problem. CMS (2017) evidence-based policy requires healthcare facilities to take the necessary measures to minimize adverse events. Therefore, the current problems of high risk of errors, one of the significant causes of which, according to research, are interruptions, does not comply with the adopted pharmaceutical services policies and procedures (Huckels-Baumgart et al., 2021; Kavanagh & Donnelly, 2020).

A literature search was performed and it was found that interruptions are a widespread and dangerous problem. Interruptions, as the cause of defects in treatment, are noted in duplicate systems of territorial and departmental medicine, but especially between different nurses (Spinewine et al., 2021; Wang et al., 2021). If one nurse started the procedure, and as a result of the interruption, another finished it, if there was no communication between the nurses, the probability of error increases (Panduwal & Bilaut, 2020; Alteren et al., 2021). Thus, reducing the risk of medication errors is essential for the patient’s health.


Alteren, J., Hermstad, M., Nerdal, L., & Jordan, S. (2021). Working in a minefield; Nurses’ strategies for handling medicine administration interruptions in hospitals, – a qualtiative interview study. BMC Health Services Research, 21(1), 1-10. Web.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2017). State operations manual appendix PP – guidance to surveyors for long term care facilities. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Web.

Huckels-Baumgart, S., Baumgart, A., Buschmann, U., Schüpfer, G., & Manser, T. (2021). Separate medication preparation rooms reduce interruptions and medication errors in the hospital setting: A prospective observational study. Journal of Patient Safety, 17(3), 161- 168. Web.

Kavanagh, A., & Donnelly, J. (2020). A Lean approach to improve medication administration safety by reducing distractions and interruptions. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 35(4), 58-62. Web.

Panduwal, C. A., & Bilaut, E. C. (2020). The effectiveness of interventions to reduce the nurses’ distractions during medication administration: A systematic review. Jurnal Ners, 14(3), 132–140. Web.

Spinewine, A., Evrard, P., & Hughes, C. (2021). Interventions to optimize medication use in nursing homes: A narrative review. European Geriatric Medicine, 12(3), 551-567. Web.

Wang, W., Jin, L., Zhao, X., Li, Z., & Han, W. (2021). Current status and influencing factors of nursing interruption events. The American Journal of Managed Care, 27(6), 188-194. Web.

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