Evaluation of safe medication administration knowledge of pre-licensure baccalaureate senior nursing students

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Medication errors are known to occur at unacceptable rates with potential serious clinical and financial harm [Institute of Medicine (IOM), 2006; Lahue et al., 2012). Safe medication administration in today’s complex health care system requires effort from multiple disciplines, of which nurses play an essential role. Nurse educators have the responsibility to prepare students to begin their first nursing job after graduation with the ability to practice safe nursing care, including the essential component of accurate medication administration. Based on a theoretical framework of cognitive learning theories, this study used a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental approach to investigate the degree to which two teaching strategies: senior-level preceptorships and a researcher-developed safe medication administration clinical workbook, would increase student knowledge of safe medication administration. Student knowledge was assessed using the Safe Medication Administration (SAM) Scale (Ryan, 2007). Data were collected from 28 senior nursing students and analysis was carried out using independent-sample t tests on pretest and posttest data comparing students in their usual critical care preceptorship (control group) with students using the clinical workbook in their usual critical care preceptorship (experimental group). Self-confidence data were also collected using a modified NLN Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning Questionnaire, SSSCL-SAM. Use of the workbook increased learning satisfaction and self-confidence, but not SAM knowledge. An analysis was also carried out comparing data from the senior students in their fourth semester 72 hour critical care preceptorship plus workbook to the senior students in their fifth semester 150 hour capstone preceptorship plus workbook. Mixed design ANOVAs were used in these analyses. The fourth semester 72 hour critical care preceptorship plus workbook was more effective in increasing student SAM knowledge, learning satisfaction, and self-confidence than a 150 hour capstone preceptorship plus workbook. A researcher-developed checklist, the Survey of Use of Pharmacology Resources, was used to explore student pharmacology resource use.

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