AORN Develops Safe Medication Administration Tool Kit; Focuses on Reducing Risk of Medication Errors in Operating Rooms

DENVER -- In a continuing effort to promote patient safety, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) distributed "Safe Medication Administration Tool Kits" to more than 5,000 hospitals and is providing additional information for professionals and consumers through the media and a special Web site.  In addition, 13,000 Tool Kits were sent to AORN members who are managers or educators.  It is also available for download to AORN's 40,000 members at


The Tool Kits were developed by AORN and will be highlighted as part of

National Time Out Day on June 22, 2005. On this date, AORN nurses focus on a specific issue; this year will be on reducing the risk of medication errors in perioperative settings, with particular emphasis on incorrect and inconsistent labeling.  AORN inaugurated National Time Out Day last year to encourage health professionals to take a "time out" before surgery and review a check list ensuring patient safety procedures are being followed.  This year AORN is encouraging local chapters to conduct activities to make sure their facilities are labeling medications.


The success of last year's event led to introduction of a bill now pending in Congress designating a date in June as National Time Out Day.  This year, AORN is concentrating on labeling and a different aspect of patient safety will be spotlighted each year.


"Many medications look-alike or sound-alike, which presents too many potential dangers," said Sharon McNamara, president of AORN.  "As healthcare providers, it's our job to eliminate these dangers and do everything in our power to protect the patient.  The Tool Kit is designed to not only make medical professionals more aware of possible pitfalls, but also more aware of what they can do to improve patient safety."


Tool Kit components include Institute of Safe Medication Practices list of

Error-Prone Abbreviations, Symbols and Dose Designations; AORN's Guidance

Statement about Safe Medication Practices, developed to assist healthcare

professionals in developing and implementing policies and procedures related

to safe medication practices in the operating room; Conversions and

Calculations; Herbal/Dietary Supplement-Drug Interactions; Safe Medication

Administration Resources; and a Medication Safety Test.  AORN members are able

to view the complete Tool Kit at


AORN and its members are proud to take the lead on patient safety with National Time Out Day, this year focusing on medication errors, especially those that occur as a result of incorrect and inconsistent labeling.


"Labeling all medications and solutions in the operating room is a

fundamental step in making surgical care safer," said Dennis S. O'Leary, MD,

whose organization, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare

Organizations, will, beginning in 2006, require hospitals and other facilities

in which surgical and other invasive procedures are performed to label all

medications, medication containers (e.g., syringes, medicine cups, basins), or

other solutions on and off the sterile field.  "We applaud AORN for its

efforts in underscoring the importance of this expectation as a critical means

for avoiding tragic medical errors."


Source: Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN