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Six Rights of Medication Administration

As a nurse, knowing the six rights of medication administration is crucial as you give medication to the patient daily. Safety should be the first thing on your mind with drugs. There is always a risk of giving the wrong pill, the wrong dose, or the lousy person’s prescription. If this happens, harm to the person can occur, and some reactions can be deadly. While there has always been a protocol for giving drugs in the hospital, every nurse must know medication safety rules. 

Whenever a medication is given, follow these guidelines for patient safety:

  •  introduce yourself,
  • provide privacy,
  • wash your hands before and after
  • Let them know what they are taking and answer their questions.
  • Let them know the significant effect of the med
  • Don’t get distracted while giving medications.
  • Use a quiet place for medication administration.
  • Don’t leave the drug on the patient bedside table or the cart


1. Right Patient

Make sure you are giving the proper medication to the right person. Always check the patient’s name, check an ID band, and check the medication bottles to compare before providing a prescription.

2. Right Medication

Check your drugs and prescription label carefully to ensure you have the proper medication. Check the title against the medication records. Most pill bottles are easily mixed up because they look so much alike. Also, never store a different medicine in an empty pill bottle used for something else.

Check the medication cart and compare it to the Doctor’s orders to ensure it is the right one. Unfortunately, some medications have “sound-alike” names. 

2. Right Dosage

Check with the Doctor’s orders for the correct supply of the medication on hand. Then, calculate the dosage to make sure it is accurate. Be aware of the difference between children’s and elderly doses.

3. Right Route

If the Doctor gives you a pill form that can’t be swallowed, you may need to ask for a liquid form of the medication. This is especially important for the elderly that cannot swallow large pills. 

Nurses should always ensure their patients can swallow pills and the medication is given the correct route. Some injections can either be IM (In the Muscle) or Sub-Q (In the fatty tissue).

3. Right Time

If the Doctor orders a medication at HS, take it at bedtime. Some bedtime medications are to make the patient sleepy. If you see the letters, QAM means taking the drug in the morning.

4. Right Documentation

Nurses need to document any medication given after they give the actual dose. Nurses should also note injection sites. Any medication documentation needs to be initialed yourself; never let anyone record for you.

5. Right Client Education

Familiar yourself with the side effects of the medications you give. Let them know the sign, products, benefits, and reactions that might happen and any unwanted response to the drug.


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