Reducing the risk of medication errors in cancer settings
evidence and practice    

Reducing the risk of medication errors in cancer settings

Diana Comerford Lead Haematology Practice Development Nurse, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Martin Galligan Lecturer Practitioner, Royal Marsden School, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article
  • To recognise that medication errors in cancer settings are a common cause of unintended harm to patients

  • To identify the factors that contribute to medication errors in cancer settings, including those that relate specifically to nurses

  • To be aware of strategies that can reduce the risk of medication errors in cancer settings

There is a high incidence of medication errors across the NHS that results in significant harm to patients. There is also a lack of literature that explores the incidence and effect of medication errors in specialist cancer settings. However, the underlying factors that contribute to medication errors are universal across all settings. This article explores the risk factors relating to medicines administration in cancer settings – in particular systemic anti-cancer therapy and opioids – and the multifactorial causes of medication errors at the prescription, dispensing and administration stages. The authors suggest steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of medication errors and consider the role of education and non-medical prescribing.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1750

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

diana.comerford@nhs.net

Conflict of interest

None declared

Comerford D, Galligan M (2021) Reducing the risk of medication errors in cancer settings. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1750

Published online: 01 February 2021

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