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Med safe: Principles of medication safety

CPD Hours



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Law, ethics and professional responsibilities


Medications: what are the risks?
Medication errors are the most commonly reported clinical incident in many healthcare settings.
Prescribing errors are found in 2 to 5% of all Australian medication charts. Up to 18% of medicines are administered incorrectly.  In some cases, medication errors have resulted in death.

More frequently, errors are made without severe consequences and may go completely unnoticed. Still these errors are potentially dangerous and likely preventable.
Interventions to improve medication safety reduce the risk of harm to patients and improve quality in healthcare.

The information in this course is consistent with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Medication Safety resources and the NSQHS Standards. Information is sourced from these sources and all others as listed in the references.

Nurses and midwives are required to refresh their knowledge on medication safety at least annually. This course meets the requirements for refreshing medication safety knowledge.

This course uses the National Inpatient Medication Charts (Adults and Paediatrics).  The National Residential Medication Chart and the National Subcutaneous Insulin Chart will be the subject of separate courses.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand key aspects of medication safety including: 1. Clinical governance and quality improvement 2. Documentation of patient information 3. Continuity of medication management 4. Medication management processes
  • Take a best possible medication history using information from at least two sources
  • Describe high risk medicines and identify interventions that may help reduce the risk of harm associated with their use
  • Outline the 10 rights of medication administration
  • Understand how to use Australian National Standard Medication Charts for medication management including the: 1. National Inpatient Medication Charts (Adults) 2. National Inpatient Medication Charts (Paediatrics).

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