Temporary Hospital Workers and Medication Errors

Medication errors can be a very serious matter. Such errors can cause a patient to suffer harm and can have major impacts on a patient’s life. Thus, it is important for hospitals to do everything they reasonably can to prevent their patients from being exposed to such errors.

Recently, a study was published concerning medication errors in U.S. hospitals. According to the UPI article which reported on this study, the study looked at data regarding thousands of emergency department medication errors that were reported for U.S. hospitals. The study yielded some interesting findings regarding medication errors and temporary hospital workers.

According to the UPI article mentioned above, the study’s researchers found that temporary hospital workers had twice the likelihood of being involved with medical errors as permanent hospital workers did. The study also found that patient harm was more likely to occur in medication errors that were made by temporary hospital workers.

It will be interesting to see if hospitals in the United States take any actions in response to this study’s findings. It will also be interesting to see if any future studies are conducted on this topic.

This study and its results give rise to a couple interesting and important questions. What causes are behind the study’s results regarding medication errors and temporary hospital workers? What can hospitals do to address these causes? One wonders how these questions will ultimately be answered.

This study also brings up a more general question: are hospitals doing enough to prevent medication errors from occurring at their facilities?

Source: UPI, “Temp workers linked to more medical error,” Aug. 27, 2011