Nursing Students Create Project to Reduce Medication Errors
When nursing students Salvatore Dimino ’13 and David Paier ’13 were enrolled in NUR 221 Fundamentals of Nursing as sophomores, their instructor–Associate Professor Janet Moore, Ph.D., R.N., G.C.N.S.–recognized opportunities for improving the way patients’ medications were handled at one of the clinical sites. Working closely with Dr. Moore, Sal and David began developing a quality improvement project for the site during the spring 2011 semester.
“The CEO of the site was ‘1000 percent in favor’ of the project, so we met with all the stakeholders and obtained approval from the Elms College institutional review board (IRB),” Dr. Moore said.
During the fall 2012 semester, Sal and David collected data on every potential medication error–often referred to as a “near miss” or “good catch”–and created a searchable database of the results, which will be used by the safety and quality improvement teams at the site to improve the medication process.
While the project was of great use to the site, it was an even better experience for Sal and David. They were chosen to present the project at the Scholarship Day conference for Beta Zeta chapter of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. More than 175 nurses, faculty, and students from Elms College, University of Massachusetts, and American International College were in attendance.
“It was a great experience for me as I’m about to begin my professional nursing career,” said Sal, who has a yearlong nursing residency lined up for July–working on the pulmonary cardiac unit at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut. “The entire process was invaluable, and Dr. Moore has been an inspiring mentor.”
Sal, David, and Dr. Moore will continue to work on this project alongside the site’s safety and quality improvement teams to conduct a root cause analysis. They hope to publish their study in a nursing journal this summer. It will be the first time Sal or David are published.
“To be published for work completed as an undergraduate is extremely rare, but also incredibly impressive,” Dr. Moore said. “It will make their applications for graduate school stand out, and will reflect positively on the Elms College baccalaureate nursing program.”