Nurses’ perceptions of verification of medication competence

Sami Sneck, Arja Isola, Reetta Saarnio


Objective: Medication administration is a common clinical procedure of nurses. However, medication errors are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients. Previous studies have shown that nurses lack theoretical knowledge and drug calculation skills. This challenges nurses to update their skills regularly and hospitals to organise a systematic verification process of medication competence. The Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health defined in 2006 how nurses’ medication competence should be verified. Hence, Finnish nurses’ perceptions of the verification process of medication competence was considered a significant topic to be studied.

Methods: The study has a qualitative descriptive design and the data were analysed using inductive content analysis.

Results: Two main categories and nine generic categories were generated from collected data. Five of the generic categories contain nurses’ perceptions of how they accept the verification process as part of their work. Four of the generic categories contain nurses’ perceptions of barriers to successful implementation of the verification process.

Conclusions: Nurses considered the verification process of medication competence important to developing medication safety and practices. Nurses considered that the verification process maintains and improves their medication competence. E-learning is a sound method of implementing the process but nurses suggest additional lectures and workshops, e.g. on drug calculations. Nurses appreciate the mandatory nature of the verification process as long as they perceive the verified competence meaningful to their professional role as nurses.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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