Improving Patient Safety With Error Identification in Chemotherapy Orders by Verification Nurses

Abigail Baldwin

Elizabeth S. Rodriguez

chemotherapy errors, prescribing errors, medication errors, verification nurse, chemotherapy administration, patient safety
CJON 2016, 20(1), 59-65. DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.59-65

Background: The prevalence of medication errors associated with chemotherapy administration is not precisely known. Little evidence exists concerning the extent or nature of errors; however, some evidence demonstrates that errors are related to prescribing. This article demonstrates how the review of chemotherapy orders by a designated nurse known as a verification nurse (VN) at a National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive cancer center helps to identify prescribing errors that may prevent chemotherapy administration mistakes and improve patient safety in outpatient infusion units.

Objectives: This article will describe the role of the VN and details of the verification process.

Methods: To identify benefits of the VN role, a retrospective review and analysis of chemotherapy near-miss events from 2009–2014 was performed.

Findings: A total of 4,282 events related to chemotherapy were entered into the Reporting to Improve Safety and Quality system. A majority of the events were categorized as near-miss events, or those that, because of chance, did not result in patient injury, and were identified at the point of prescribing.

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