This list of the top 15 drugs prescribed in the United States thus far in 2011. The good news is that they are all generics meaning they are available at a lower cost. The bad news is that because they have become so common, we forget that these are major pharmaceuticals that can cause major problems.
If you’ve been paying attention, you will realize that the key to doing well in 2012 is directly related to your ability to keep patients out of the hospital. In reviewing hospitalizations and Reason for Transfer OASIS assessments, I would bet the farm that medication errors are a direct or indirect cause of a lot more hospitalizations than are reported.
When I read charts, I also see very vague medication teaching. In reviewing clinical records it is not unusual to see ‘teaching’ such as:
- Taught patient to take meds exactly as MD ordered.
- Call MD for any side effects.
- Take insulin at the same time each day.
- This medicine helps to lower your cholesterol
I understand that patients have different learning abilities and that sometimes the best we can do is teach the patient the bare minimum. But whether we teach a lot or a little about medications, it isn’t working.
The first step in providing really effective teaching about medications is to know your medications.
To see how well you or your staff know your meds, click here to take a basic medication competency test. Until you are able to answer the questions with complete confidence, keep researching.
Of course, not every can know every medicine but there are tools that can be used. My favorite for when I work offsite is the Medscape app (available for iPhone, Droid and Blackberry) which has two options for download. One is a smaller download and the larger download includes the entire database for use offline. Using the larger download option, nurses are able to look up drugs and interactions on their phone even when the internet isn’t available. It is amazing the things I find when I use it. The downside of the app is that it does provide every possible drug interaction in the world. I try to focus on the most serious interactions and read through the remainders to see if they apply to a particular patient.
By really looking at meds and planning teaching as you write a careplan, you can gather all sorts of appropriate teaching materials for the patient. Medications are also my favorite hunting ground to see if any diagnoses have been missed.
Let me know what you think about the competency test and how you scored. If you have any other questions to add, please feel free to email them to me or to post below. Heaven forbid I made an error in the test. If that’s the case, please post below.