Nursing Students’ Errors in Preparation and Administration of Intravenous Drugs


Nayereh Baghcheghi 1 , * , Hamid Reza Koohestani 1

1 Iran

How to Cite: Baghcheghi N, Koohestani H R . Nursing Students’ Errors in Preparation and Administration of Intravenous Drugs, Strides Dev Med Educ. 2009 ; 5(1):e58615.


Strides in Development of Medical Education: 5 (1); e58615
Published Online: July 25, 2008
Article Type: Research Article
Received: July 24, 2017
Accepted: April 10, 2008




Background & Objective: The intravenous administration of drugs is a complex process in which errors
may cause detrimental outcomes for patients and an increase in healthcare costs. This study was performed
to ascertain the frequency, type and causes of errors made by senior nursing students in intravenous drug
preparation and administration.
Methods: In this descriptive study which was conducted in four wards (internal, surgery, Coronary Care
Unit, and neurosurgery) in two teaching hospitals in Arak, 52 nursing students were observed during
preparation and administration of intravenous drugs between 7 to 8 times by an observer. Errors were
checked in each step. The observer intervened in case a potential error was about to happen and this was
considered as an error too. Data was collected using a researcher made questionnaire.
Results: In 372 registered observations, 153 errors were detected, while in 139 cases, at least one error
occurred. The most frequent error in drug preparation was in solvent and diluting (2.68%). The most
common error in administration was inappropriate infusion rate (11.55%). The most common cause of
errors was inadequate pharmacologic knowledge (18.95%). Most errors in drug field were related to
heparin (10 cases), ceftazidime (7 cases) phenytoin (6 cases) dopamine (6 cases), and vancomycin
(5 cases).
Conclusion: This study shows that making errors in intravenous drug preparation and administration is
highly probable amongst nursing students. Educational content should be designed in order to reduce these
errors. Also it seems that the strategy of unsupervised medication administration by senior nursing
students needs to be revised.


Intravenous drug Preparation error Administration error Nursing student

© 2009, Medical Education Development Center. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.


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