Application of quality assurance principles: Teaching medication error reduction skills in a "real world" environment

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American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


Objectives. To create an instructional sequence that would encourage students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to decrease medication errors in the pharmacy practice setting. Methods. A course on medication error reduction was developed for third professional year pharmacy students. Students (N=157) were divided into 30 project teams and assigned to a preceptor in a community or health-system pharmacy. Teams met with their preceptors and, using concepts learned in class, developed site-specific medication error reduction projects. Students collected, analyzed, and evaluated data to measure plan impact, presented their results at a poster forum, and self-evaluated their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Results. Students demonstrated improvement in the following areas: (1) awareness of medication error impact on patient health, (2) motivation to implement methods to decrease errors, (3) knowledge of methods to reduce errors, (4) ability to identify errors, and (5) ability to implement methods to reduce errors. Conclusion. The increased student awareness of the pharmacist's role in medication error reduction and the actual use of error reduction skills will enable them to improve future patient outcomes.

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