Medication errors in emergency rooms, intensive care units and pediatric wards

Hsiang Feng Wu, Shu Yu, Ya Hui Lan, Fu In Tang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Medication safety is a major concern worldwide that directly relates to patient care quality and safety. Reducing medication error incidents is a critical medication safety issue. This literature review article summarizes medication error issues related specifically to three hospital units, namely emergency rooms (ERs), intensive care units (ICUs), and pediatric wards. Time constrains, lack of patient history details and the frequent need to use rapid response life-saving medications are key factors behind high ER medication error rates. Patient hypo-responsiveness, complex medication administration and frequent need to use high-alert medications are key factors behind high ICU medication error rates. Medication error in pediatric wards are often linked to errors made by nurses in calculating dosage based on patient body weight. This article summarizes the major types of medication errors reported by these three units in order to increase nurse awareness of medication errors and further encourage nurses to apply proper standard operational procedures to medication administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Emergency room
  • Intensive care unit
  • Medication errors
  • Pediatric ward


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