Modern nursing practice has become increasingly automated in many areas and provides opportunities to achieve greater efficiency and streamlined processes throughout the practice setting. One of the most critical areas of nursing practice is medication administration because this requires nurses to administer medications on a regular basis without errors so that patient safety is optimized and all patients receive their medications in a timely manner. Therefore, the use of bar-coded medication administration systems has become increasingly common throughout healthcare organizations to enable nurses to provide patients with medications that are the appropriate dosage and within the appropriate time frame.

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These systems have been adopted to enable nurses to provide their patients with safe medication administration practices as best as possible to promote recovery and wellbeing. This type of system was chosen because it has generated much interest in recent years and its availability in many healthcare organizations has expanded at a high level. This system is significant because it is aligned with the expanded use of electronic health records and charting to improve access to care and treatment in healthcare environments that have become increasingly patient-centric in nature. This type of system is relevant because it provides nurses with a means of improving their medication administration practices. However, I believe that medication administration errors will continue to occur unless all nurses have the appropriate training and guidance in the use of these systems and receive any updated education or guidance as needed to improve compliance rates.

The use of bar-coded medication administration systems offers a means of streamlining medication administration processes and supporting an error-free experience for nurses and for patients. However, this reflects a need to further examine this option and how it may lead to negative outcomes for nurses and patients in some cases. For instance, the level of non-compliance in the use of medication administration systems may be higher than anticipated because nurses may have too many patients at one time, they might be distracted during this process, or they may lack the training that is required to operate the system effectively, and there is a relatively high rate of medication administration errors, up to seven percent (Lee, Lee, Kwon, & Yi, 2015). From this perspective, it is important to identify areas where this process might be improved and how to best address any deficiencies in medication administration that impact patient health and wellbeing.

Nurses who experience problems during medication administration must address these problems as quickly as possible to prevent compromising patient health and this supports a need for nurses to identify areas whereby problem-solving may be limited and the opportunity exists to engage in new forms of engagement that will minimize these problems and reduce the risk of medication errors (Holden, Rivera-Rodriguez, Faye, Scanlon, & Karsh, 2013). Therefore, the manner of problem-solving in bar-coded medication administration is increasingly important and supports an expanded learning curve and environment that impacts decision-making and actions regarding medication administration for patients (Holden et al., 2013). In this context, nurses must recognize their own levels of risk with the use of bar-coded medication administration systems and aim to minimize these risks through improvements in problem-solving that will have a positive and lasting impact on patient outcomes and wellbeing (Holden et al., 2013).

Finally, nurses must demonstrate their understanding of how to improve upon existing standards of medication safety by sharing their knowledge and experiences with others (Smeulers, Onderwater, Van Zwieten, & Vermulen, 2014). This reflects the importance of expanding nurses’ accountability in medication administration and improving patient safety standards in this regard (Smeulers et al., 2014). Finally, it supports an environment in which nurses embrace automated medication administration and aim to strengthen this practice through their own actions that will ultimately provide patients with a safer and more effective medication administration experience.

In some cases, nurses contribute to a variety of deficiencies that impact the use of medication administration systems, including an increased workload or patient load; lack of clarity in medication orders; periods when the medication administration requires maintenance and must be offline; duplicate documentation; and a reduced amount of time that is available for patients to manage other tasks involving direct patient care (Tian, Lee, Yucel, Abel, Hultgren, & Duffy, 2014). From this perspective, there is likely to be an increased risk to patients because medication errors are more likely to occur even when the system is automated (Tian et al., 2014). These efforts require an expanded understanding of the key risk factors associated with these systems and how to provide sufficient time to administer medications to reduce the risk of errors for patients (Tian et al., 2014).

The use of bar-coded medication administration systems has become increasingly relevant throughout nursing practice and provides nurses with a simpler approach to managing patient medications. These systems are common because they provide a higher level of convenience and are designed to limit the amount of medication errors that occur on a given nursing unit. However, medication errors remain a significant problem in healthcare organizations and one of the key causes to consider is the lack of training and guidance regarding automated systems that are used as the primary means of medication administration. It is important for all nurses to receive the appropriate level of training and knowledge to operate these systems effectively and to promote greater efficiency in administering medications to patients in a timely manner.