Five essential rights of administering medication

One of the primary responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant or a qualified nurse is to take care of the patient and ensure that he or she gets cured and returns to normalcy at the earliest possible time.

As part of the duties, the nurse should ensure that medication is administered to the patient at periodical intervals so as to ensure improvement in the health condition of the patient.

How to administer medication to the patient?  What should be ensured while administering medication to the patient?

It is the responsibility of the nurse taking care of the patient.  The nurse has to ensure that the medication is provided to the patient in accordance with five essential rights.

The five rights are:

  • Right patient
  • Right drug
  • Right time
  • Right dose, and
  • Right route

A nurse, working in a hospital atmosphere, will have to look after more than one patient in the ward.  So, it has to be ensured that the prescribed medication is given only to the right patient.  There should not be any confusion in this basic premise of administering medication.

The second aspect or right, as we may call it, is that the right patient is provided with only the right drug.  A wrong drug to a right person or a right drug to a wrong person should never happen.  Only the right drug should be administered to the right patient.

The doctor or the registered nurse will be instructing the frequency of administering medication to a patient, taking into account the seriousness of the health problem and the importance of medication.  The prescribed time schedule should be correctly followed and there should not be any deviation in that aspect.  Adding the time aspect, it has to be ensured that the right drug is administered at the right time to the right patient.

The fourth essential aspect of administering medication is the dosage.  Some patients require heavy dosage and some might warrant a slightly lesser dosage.  This dosage again depends on the severity of the disease.  As such, it is the responsibility of the nurse to ensure that only the right dosage is provided to the patient.  The doctor might have prescribed the quantum of dosage that might not be readily available.  The nurse has to ensure that only dosage amount is correctly converted, calculated, and administered in required quantities.

The fifth and the very important right is to determine the right route of administering the medication.

The nurse has to ensure that these five rights are taken care of while administering the medication to the patient.

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