Medication errors: what to do + statement template

As an agency nurse or care assistant, you face unique challenges. 

Transitioning between different environments and protocols means you must be especially meticulous in your practice. 

When a medication error occurs, your response needs to be prompt, thorough and precise. Here’s what to do if you’re involved in a medication error, including how to write a detailed and accurate statement.

Immediate steps to take after a medication error

  1. Ensure patient/resident safety
    Your first priority is the patient or resident’s well-being. Quickly assess the situation to determine if there are any immediate adverse effects. If necessary, provide first aid or seek urgent medical assistance.
  2. Inform the appropriate parties
    Notify your supervisor or the senior nurse on duty immediately. Clear communication is essential to ensure timely intervention and prevent further harm.
  3. Monitor the patient/resident
    ontinue to monitor the patient or resident closely for any signs of adverse reactions or changes in their condition. Document all observations meticulously.
  4. Document the error
    ecord the details of the error in the resident’s/patient’s medical records. Include the type of error (e.g., wrong dosage, wrong medication), the exact medication involved, the time it occurred, and any immediate actions taken.
  5. Report the error
    Follow the service’s protocol for reporting medication errors. This typically involves completing an incident report form, some of which may be electronic.
    Reporting is important for identifying patterns and preventing future errors. Remember to also report to your agency too (if applicable). At Florence, we have a dedicated incidents team to support you. They can be contacted at

Writing a good statement

As an agency care professional, your statement needs to be especially meticulous. A well-written statement provides a clear, factual account of what happened and is essential for any subsequent investigations. 

Here’s how to write an effective statement

Be objective and factual: stick to the facts and avoid inserting opinions or emotions. Your statement should provide a clear, unbiased account of the incident.

Include key details

  • Who: list everyone involved, including yourself, the patient/resident, and any witnesses.
  • What: describe the error, including the type of medication, dosage, and nature of the mistake.
  • When: note the exact time and date the error occurred.
  • Where: specify the location within the service where the error took place.
  • How: explain how the error was discovered and any actions taken immediately afterward.

Follow a clear structure

  • Introduction: begin with a brief introduction stating your name, agency, your training/background, and the purpose of the statement.
  • Incident description: provide a detailed step-by-step account of the incident.
  • Actions taken: describe the immediate actions you took following the discovery of the error.
  • Outcome and monitoring: detail the patient/resident’s condition post-incident and any ongoing monitoring.
  • Conclusion/reflection: end with any further steps you recommend or actions taken to prevent future errors.

Sample statement

Here’s a sample statement to illustrate:

My name is Jane Smith. I am a Registered Mental Health Nurse with 32 years experience. I am employed by Florence and have worked at various Nursing Homes for the last 2 years This was my first shift working at Greenfield Care Home (29th May 2024).

Purpose Statement regarding medication error on 28th May 2024

On 28th May 2024, at approximately 10:00 AM, while administering the morning medication to Resident AF at Greenfield Care Home, I mistakenly gave him 10mg of Lisinopril instead of the prescribed 5mg. I believe that the error occurred because the outer packaging on the box said 5mg, but the strips inside were 10mg.

Upon realising the mistake at 10:15 AM, I immediately informed the senior nurse on duty, Nurse Mandy. Nurse Mandy and I then informed Resident AF of the error and monitored him for any adverse reactions. We took advice from Resident AF’s GP. and his vital signs were checked every 15 minutes for the first hour and then every 30 minutes for the next three hours.

Mr. Smith did not exhibit any adverse effects during the monitoring period. His vital signs remained stable, and he did not report any discomfort or symptoms. I documented the error in Mr. Smith’s medical records and completed the incident report form.

I deeply regret making this error and take full accountability. To prevent future errors, I have refreshed my medication competency assessment with Florence and will take more care to check the individual strips against the prescribed dose. 

Why statement writing makes a difference

Medication errors, though unfortunate, are opportunities to improve care processes and enhance safety protocols. 

By following the proper steps and writing a clear, detailed statement, you can effectively address errors and contribute to a safer, more reliable care environment. 

Your diligence not only helps maintain the highest standards of care but also protects you and your professional integrity.

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