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Adherence to Medication Labeling Protocol Found Inconsistent

Overall, 70 percent of clinic staff complied with the 2008 medication labeling protocol

THURSDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Just 70 percent of surgical staff members were found to adhere to a new medication labeling protocol in an observational study conducted by nursing staff at the Cleveland Clinic, and reported in the May issue of the AORN Journal.

Diana Brown-Brumfield, R.N., and Agripina DeLeon, R.N., of the Cleveland Clinic, observed 21 nurses and 19 surgical technologists during 24 surgical procedures to assess adherence to a revised medication and solution labeling protocol implemented in February 2008.

Overall, the authors found that 70 percent of the surgical staff adhered to the medication and solution labeling protocol. Adherence varied for specific protocol requirements: 85 percent of the time staff members identified medications and solutions according to the revised protocol; 70 percent of the time staff members labeled medication and solution containers immediately before or after use in surgery; 60 percent of the time staff members reconfirmed medications and solutions during the procedure; and 75 percent of the time staff members reviewed all medications and solutions during breaks, relief spells, or shift changes. The rate of adherence varied by specialty, and better adherence was found among less experienced compared to more experienced staff.

"Established guidelines, best practice recommendations, and protocols are available and should be diligently followed to decrease the likelihood of medication labeling errors and injury to the patients who rely on our care," the authors write.

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