Nurses Key to Care Coordination
"That means that nurses also (should) take responsibility for developing good relationships with all members of the health care team, so that when they have to locate missing medication, double-check doses or ask questions about new medications, they get the answers they need when they need them," Flynn said.
The study recommends tapping into nurses' clinical reasoning as a foundation for reducing medication errors in the care team environment. Such a program would push nurses to move beyond the "five rights" of medication administration (1. Right patient, 2. Right Route, 3. Right Dose, 4. Right Time, 5. Right medication) and to use clinical reasoning to protect their patients from harm.
The study also calls for retooling provider education to promote the team care approach. That includes learning basic errors theory and team-centered clinical problem-solving exercises.
As the study makes clear, nurses will face a variety of new challenges in the coming years as they are asked to play a greater role in patient care coordination. Everyone else in the healthcare delivery system must understand that role and must be willing to provide nurses with the support and resources they need to do their many jobs.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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