The Impact of Work-Related Stress on Medication Errors by Health Care Professionals in Saudi Arabian Hospitals

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Public Health


Despite increased awareness about patient safety and quality of care, errors and adverse outcomes occur frequently in clinical practice. An estimated 10% of the 35.1 million U.S. hospital patients suffered injuries caused by medical errors; the most common were medication errors, which accounted for more than 50% of all medical errors. Work-related stress is associated with medication errors for health care professionals (HCP) in Saudi Arabia (SA) hospitals; however, the specific types of stressors and their effect on the level of medication errors have not been studied in SA. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to examine the relationship between the overall level and sources of work-related stress using the job stress scale on the level of medication errors for a group of 269 HCPs working at King Abdul-Aziz Hospital (KAH) in SA. The theoretical framework for this research was the Donabedian patient safety model, which relates healthcare quality to personal, environmental, and organizational factors. Binary logistic regression analyses indicated there was no relationship between overall levels of stress and medication errors. However, specific sources of work related stress such as disruption to home life, excessive workload, and night/weekend call duties were associated with a significant increase in the medication error rate, while pressure to meet deadlines and difficulties with colleagues was associated with a significant decrease in the medication error rate. Positive social change implications include how understanding the impact of work-related stress on medication errors by SA HCPs may lead to specific interventions to reduce medication errors and improve patient care.

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