Research Shows Injections are Two-and-a-half Times Safer When Nurses Use Revamped Guidelines

July 7th 2020

New research from the University of Bath has led The National Health Service (NHS) to adjust their guidelines for giving intravenous (IV) injections in hospitals.

New research from the University of Bath has led The National Health Service (NHS) to adjust their guidelines for giving intravenous (IV) injections in hospitals, according to a press release from the university.

The study found that hospital nurses make fewer mistakes when administering medicines intravenously if they follow instructions written with nurses in mind. Using a process called user testing, researchers were able to identify where mistakes are being made and introduce changes, so the instructions were easier to use.

The current NHS guidelines on IV injections are written by pharmacists with little input from their primary audience of nurses. The instructions can be complicated and contribute to 30%-50% of IV doses being incorrect in some way, according to the press release.

Researcher Matthew Jones, MD, said the injection-related mistakes arise due to nurses struggling to find relevant, unambiguous information in the NHS guidelines.

“When nurses follow modified guidelines that present the same information in a more user-friendly way, nearly two and half times more doses are given without mistakes,” Jones said in a press release. “As a bonus, the injection procedure is also completed faster and nurses feel more confident about their decisions.”

Researchers collaborated with Luto Research to develop the study, which involved 273 nurses and midwives who regularly administer injections from 4 NHS hospitals. Participants were taken part way through a shift and asked to give an injection to a rubber dummy simulating a patient’s arm.

Half of the participants were given the current NHS guidelines and the other half were given the modified guidelines, as a researcher watched to identify guideline-related errors.

“The results make it clear that busy, stressed staff need information to be presented in a way that is easy to understand and quick to find,” said Jones in a press release. “User testing allowed us to identify where the information needed improving and how we could do that.”

The results of the study have started a review of how injection guidelines are produced for the NHS Injectable Medicines Guide, a website-based guide that provides information on the correct procedures for preparing and administering over 350 IV medicines in more than 120 hospitals.

REFERENCE

Injections are two-and-a-half times safer when nurses use revamped guidelines. University of Bath. https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/injections-are-two-and-a-half-times-safer-when-nurses-use-revamped-guidelines/. Published July 6, 2020. Accessed July 7, 2020.

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