The first step in the administration of medication to a patient is the assessment of the patient. Although the drug prescriber should have assessed the patient initially before prescribing a medication, whatever was prescribed should be assessed again because a patient’s condition can change at any time. Should any changes take place that make the administering of a prescribed medication a bad idea then the a nurse, or nurse practitioner should be aware of these changes and make an important decision concerning the patient’s health and needs. Assessing the patient prior to administering any medications can also provide valuable information when comparing the patient’s reaction to the medication after it is administered.
There are two assessments that should be made when medications are administered. The first assessment is called a general assessment and should be done after any medication is administered. The second assessment is for only specific types of medications. Here are specific questions that should be answered during a general assessment.
-Is the therapeutic action of the drug appropriate for the patient?
Although the patient has been evaluated by the physician, the nurse is responsible for verifying that the drug is also proper for the patient before it is administered. This can be done by reviewing the patient’s diagnosis and checking to see that the medication is recommended for that diagnosis in the drug manual. If a drug is prescribed that is not recommended for a particular diagnosis than the nurse should contact the prescriber. It is important to remember that some drugs are prescribed for their secondary therapeutic effect.
-Is the route proper for the patient?
The route in which a drug is administered can vary depending on the drug. The prescriber may specify a route that is not appropriate for the patient’s current condition. The nurse should ensure that the route used for administering is appropriate for the patient. If there are any concerns about a prescribed route the nurse should contact the prescriber and obtain an order to use an alternate route that is more appropriate for the patient’s condition.