Nursing Professor Begins Medication Error Research

Nov. 5, 2011

UNLV nursing professor Yu (Philip) Xu is comparing medication errors between internationally educated nurses and American educated nurses in a new study that aims to improve patient safety.

Xu and his research team, which includes UNLV healthcare administration professor Jay Shen, will investigate whether language and cultural barriers impede nurses’ ability to provide quality care. Researchers will examine medication data from about 2,000 nurses in nine Las Vegas hospitals. They will track how errors occur, if the correct medication and dosage levels were administered, and whether the medication was given at the proper time.

Study results could be used to form national regulations and requirements for nursing education and training.

“If we can determine why and how nurses are making these errors, hospitals can come up with suitable intervention programs,” Xu said.

The National Board of Nursing is funding the two-year, $300,000 study. In 2010, Xu and Shen completed “Speak for Success,” the nation’s first research project on the effectiveness of a comprehensive language and communication training program for currently employed, internationally educated nurses.