Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Medication errors are a global concern that may affect patients' hospital stays, patients' lives after discharge, treatment costs, and mortality rates. Understanding medication errors among nursing students may help in preventing these errors as nurses are responsible for safe medication administration. The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study was to examine upper-level nursing students' understanding of and experiences with medication administration and patient safety. Benner's nursing theory of novice to expert and Dreyfus's model of skill acquisition comprised the conceptual framework. Research questions focused on students' perceptions of safe medication administration. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 7 upper-level nursing students from a baccalaureate nursing program in the Southeastern U.S. utilizing convenience sampling. Colaizzi's analysis strategy was followed in determining themes and clustering data into categories. Three major themes emerged from the data that included learning curve referring to the rigor of the pharmacology course, gaining self-confidence, and reliance on preceptor. Two sub-themes were identified from the theme learning curve, which included fear of making a mistake causing harm to a patient, and appreciating the complexity of the working environment and the intricacy of the patients. Using study findings, a hybrid pharmacology and medication administration course for nursing students was developed. The course may improve nursing students' confidence in their skills and knowledge and enable them to provide a safer environment for patients. Implications for positive social change include a potential reduction in medication errors and related adverse outcomes experienced by patients and their families and by health care organization.