Safety Guidelines—The Five Rights
Make No Mistake!
Medication errors can be dead serious.
Medication errors have serious
consequences! One example is an order written for amoxicillin without a route of administration. Other
medication errors have a greater potential for patient harm and so are often designated as "serious medication
errors" or "potential ADEs", for example an order for amoxicillin in a patient with past anaphylaxis to
Know Safety Guidelines: The Five Rights
Safety is paramount
concern in drug administration.
The "Five Rights" in
administering medications are:
1. Right patient
2. Right time and frequency of administration
3. Right dose
4. Right route of administration
5. Right drug
Safe Administration of Medications
Caregivers must administer only those medications for which the physician has written and signed the order and
should check with the ordering physician or nurse when in doubt about any medications. When dispensing any
medications, they must carefully check to make sure that everything on the medication order corresponds exactly
with the label on the package or container, and medications that are not clearly tabled or unlabeled should never
be used or put back into the cabinet!
When dispensing medications, all instructions must be followed precisely, and when in doubt about a drug name,
dosage, and calculation the doctor, a nurse, or pharmacist should be consulted and asked to recheck and verify the
prescription. The caregiver must read all directions, warnings, and interactions of the drug, then ask the patient
and double check entries in the patient's chart to verify current medications and to see if there are any known
allergies to medications, such as penicillin or sulfa drugs.
Also Know The
Multiples of 10
Volume (amount) of fluids – liter (L)
Weight of solids – gram (g)
Measure of length – meter (m)
Concentration of electrolytes
Basic unit for weight is grain
Smallest unit for volume is minim
Caregivers, which includes medical assistants, should not converse during medication administration and rather,
concentrate on the task on hand, because attentiveness is the most important aspect of safety, then watch the
patient carefully for signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction or other complications. Everything must then be
charted accurately into the patient's record and initialed, but only after the medication has been administered and
the patient was observed for reactions.
Do YOU know the answers to the
Whenever solving dosage problems the units of measurement must be converted to the same unit of measurement! If
you find that you would benefit from reviewing this topic to solidify your understanding of medications, the metric
system, and conversions, then check out this excellent pharmacology Online Study course.
1 gram = ______ milligrams (mg)
0.001 gram = _____ milligrams (mg)
1 kilogram = _____ grams (g)
0.001 kilogram (kg) = _____ gram (g)
1 liter (L) = _____ milliliters (ml) 0.001 liter (L) = _____ milliliters (ml)
1 milliliter (ml) = _____ cubic centimeter (cc)
1ml = ____ minims
4-5 ml = _____ dram
30 ml = _____ ounce
500 ml = _____ pint
1000 ml = _____ L = _____ quart
60 mg = _____ grain
1 kg = _____ pounds