Importance of Understanding the NEW ZEALAND Registered Nurses’ Role and Responsibilities in Administering Medication

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Importance of Understanding the NEW ZEALAND Registered Nurses’ Role and Responsibilities in Administering Medication

The organization and delivery of primary care are shifting and advancing to facilitate primary care efficiency. The advancements include involving health care practitioners more in primary care and expanding their roles in health care delivery. The strategy will ensure that healthcare can meet the increasing needs of health care with the limited workforce.  Nonetheless, the expansion of roles and responsibilities does not warrant a compromise of quality and thus the need for medical professionals to understand their roles in different capacities.  Administering medication has been part of primary health care, and thus it is part of a nurse’s roles in primary health care.  Part of the vital tasks for RNs in primary care revolves around medications such as reconciliation of multiple medications, and medication titration and related protocols among others (Flinter, Hsu, Cromp, Ladden & Wagner, 2017). The expansion of roles may see to an extension of the nurse’s role in medication for patients and thus the need for registered nurses to understand the importance of their roles and responsibilities in the medication process. Therefore, this paper discusses the importance of understanding New Zealand registered nurses role and responsibilities in administering medication.

The primary principle of nursing practice in New Zealand is to deliver high-quality care and thus the push towards the development of the roles and responsibilities of the nurses. Advancing the role of the nurses helps promote higher gains in health care by delivering innovative, collaborative and efficient health care. Therefore, to accomplish higher quality standards and advance the role of nurses, strategies are in place to ensure the attainment of the primary health care goals. One of the strategies is the development of a high-quality health care workforce that is knowledgeable about its roles and responsibilities and their importance in primary care (Leach, 2017). The roles and responsibilities of registered nurse’ in medication administration in New Zealand are outlined in the “Guidelines for nurses on the administration of medicines” by the New Zealand Nurses organization and developed based on the international nursing practice roles and responsibilities. The guidelines are established to govern nurse’s roles in medication administration and indicate the medical and legal issues related to medication and be an aid to useful resources. The guidelines offered clarity and defined the extent to which nurses play a role in medication. The guidelines indicate the importance of the role of nurses in the medication process and thus the importance of understanding them in New Zealand health care provision.  The guidelines present the roles which indicate the importance of understanding a nurse’s role in medication administration

Since the beginning of the nursing practices, nurses have been tasked with the storage and administration of medicine. Initially, the role of nurses in medication was fundamental constituting storing and administering medication as directed by doctors. However, with the advancement of the role of nurses in medical care the involvement of nurses in medicine administration has expanded to include the appropriation of dosage, knowledge of the medicine, management of side effects administration and control and sustainability of the patient among others (New Zealand Nurse’s Association, 2012). Administering medication is a more complex and voluminous issue in medical care than it appears since complications and medication errors cost health healthcare a lot financially and negatively impacts the life of the patient. Approximately, up to 2% of inpatients experience harm from medication that in the least causes them to prolong their stay in the hospital to up to 10 days more than they would get hospitalized (Durham, 2015). The statistics on the number of medication errors that occur in hospital settings cannot be defined since at times they go unnoticed or unreported which understanding the role of nurses in medication administration essential to prevent medication errors by noticing them and correcting them on time.

Understanding the importance of roles and responsibilities governing nurses in medication ensures the nurses understand the mediation process and its components and their criticality in providing efficient medication administration.  Throughout the globe in nursing practice including New Zealand, medication administration is a process involving many components and practices that need to be implemented systematically and carefully to ensure the efficiency of the process. The components of the mediation process are implemented in a step by step process where the registered nurse performs a wide range of activities. The process varies depending on the type of care the patients requires among other factors. The role of the registered nurses begins with reviewing the patient to get significant data which is done by looking at the patients’ sheet. Some of the substantial information includes age and any allergies to drugs among others. The nurse then gathers the medication for the patients and packaging them concerning the six rights of medication. The six rights in medication include the right dose, right patient, right time, right documentation, right route and the right time (Huynh, Snyder, Vidal, Sharif, Cai, Parsons & Bennett, 2016). After the gathering and confirmation of the six rights, the actual administration of the medicines takes place, and the nurse administers the medication to the patient. The nurse then has to document the administration and indicates relevant aspects of the administration such as time administered and the dose is given. The final step in the administration process is observing the patients for any side effects and the effect of the drugs on the patient (Huynh, Snyder, Vidal, et al., 2016).

In New Zealand as in all health care settings in the world, a nurse is the last medical practitioner in the medication administration process and thus the last chance at rectifying any medication errors for correction before the patient receives it. Understanding their place at the end of the medication process makes the nurse’s more aware and cautious in the medication process. The physician is responsible for prescriptions while the pharmacist fills the prescriptions and the nurse is responsible for administration. The administration is the last stage and thus the best time to correct any errors and protect against medication errors that may be made by the doctor or the pharmacist at a prevention point. The nurse can prevent the occurrence of medication errors in the administration process by taking various precaution steps in the administration process. The nurse counter checks the medication administration record from the doctor which dictates the medication administration needs. The medical administration record has the name of the patient, the dosage, the name of the medicine, the route for administering the medicine and frequency of administering the medicines (Breeze, 2018). The nurse then identifies the patient to ensure that the right patient is receiving the medication by checking the patient tag and comparing the names with the MAR forms and having the patient state their name if they can do so. Misidentification of patients can result in the wrong patients receiving the medication and thus it is a critical part of the process. The nurse then administers the medication accordingly (Breeze, 2018. In case a nurse identifies any discrepancies in the directives or has doubts then the nurse is responsible for consulting with a physician who prescribed the medicine or the nurse supervisor before administering the medicine for clarity and to prevent any errors.

Comprehending the importance of the nurse’s roles in administering medicines also facilitates the understanding of the legal issues that may arise from the medication process and thus provokes ethical and legal practice.  The legal framework relating to the administration of medication promotes e the rights of medication including time, right patient, dosage, mode of administration and correct form of the medicine among others. More specifically, the law promotes four significant areas in medication to shield the patient from the possible adversity of medicine and yet allow them to receive the therapeutic benefits from the medications (Griffiths, 2003). The provision and inclusion of a legal framework indicate that nurses are liable by law in their medication administration practice if they fail to adhere and promote the legal provisions surrounding medication of patients. The law also allows the nurses and gives them the authority to question and seek justifications for the medication prescribed where they have concern and sanction in case the demands are not met.

One of the four areas that the law zones in is the right to administer medication (Griffiths et al., 2003). Nurses have a right and responsibility to administer medication to patients according to improve the health of the patients with minimal adverse effect if any. The legal framework also regulates the standards of medication administration based on the patient’s right to self-determination and the doctor’s obligation to exercise care in the administration process (Griffiths et al., 2003). The third area that the law stresses is the duty of care placed on the nurse in their roles of administering medicines which makes them accountable under the legal provision on negligence. The last legal are concerns contractual and professional standards of medication that govern the nurse’s law. Understanding the legal aspect of the medication process thus get the nurses to comprehend their legal rights and accountability in the mediation process as well as the risks that may get them in legal issues. The understanding is critical to reducing and preventing legal issues in the administration of medicine process for the nurses.

The roles and responsibilities of nurses in administering medicine define the safety goals for the patient; thus understanding them is essential for the nurses to understand the safety goals and promote them in the medication process.  The patients’ safety goals are drafted as a guideline or improving patient’s safety in health care based on the needs identified within the medical care industry, clinical practice reports, and patient’s feedback. The patients’ goals include improving accuracy and identification of the patient at all level of medical care, reporting important lab results on tests that are significant in determining medication and advancing the safety of using medication to increase medication efficiency in patient care. The international patients’ safety goals for nations extends the list of patient safety goals in medication to include improving labeling of medicine, reconciliation of medication and minimizing harm on patients from anticoagulants (Mascioli & Carrico, 2016).

By understanding their roles and responsibilities in promoting patients safety, the nurse can idealize the goals in accomplishing patients’ safety in medication and thus ensure that they promote patient safety in the medication administration process. The patient safety goals illustrate the importance of the medication part of health care and its relevance and importance in health care. Administration of medicines is a key area in health care that is taken with utmost seriousness due to its role in promoting accuracy, efficiency and quality health care among others. Understanding that ensures that the nurses’ practices in the medication process are in line with the attainment of the safety goals and thus advancement of the medication practice. Understanding the roles and responsibilities thus help the nurses understand their place in promoting the safety goals in medication.

Understanding the importance of the nurse’s roles and responsibilities in medication brings awareness of the nurse’s right in the medication process and their relevance for the nurse’s clinical practice. The nurses are also entitled to certain rights in the medication administration process that ensure they can administer medication in the right way. The first in the nurse’s right in administering medication is the right to a complete and written order that is readable. Medication orders have to completely describe in terms of dosage, time of administration, route of administration and frequency to ensure the nurse has the precise instructions. The order has to be written primarily when it is handwritten to deliver the instructions as intended in terms of readability and clarity. The nurse also has a right to the correct medicine being dispensed by the pharmacists since drugs have close names and supplements which can be dispensed out of assumptions and cause medication errors. The nurse also has a right to information and policies of medication administration for the sake of clarity on information for the medicines and policies to govern their administration process (Cooke, 2019). The nurse has a right to demand all the things provided in the nurses’ rights in the administration of medicines or fail to administer the drugs in case any of the rights are compromised. By understanding their roles in medication, the nurses are knowledgeable about their rights and the extent of their power in the medication administration process.

In conclusion, understanding the importance of the nurses’ roles and responsibilities in the administration of medication in New Zeeland helps nurses comprehend the relevance of their roles in promoting quality and efficient medication administration. It also helps the nurse understand the importance of adhering to the drug administration regulations by ethical guidelines and legal frameworks and the consequences of failing to follow through the rules and regulation. Understanding the importance of the nurse’s role in medication also ensure that the nurses are aware of the competence required to perfume the medication and ensure they meet the requirements to promote patient safety and reduce medication errors. It also allows nurses to understand their rights and way forward in case they have questions and concerns and thus contribute to the promotion of quality health by minimizing drugs. Understanding the importance of their role gives them the power, authority, and confidence to play their part with clarity and precisions to and the result is an effective medication administration practice in health care. Therefore, nurses in New Zealand and the world, in general, should understand the importance of their roles and responsibilities in administering medication.























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