Reference materials can be very helpful to clinical staff ordering or administering medications. Information about dosages, side effects, and drug interactions are just a few of the important points personnel may wish to check or confirm. Memory can be unreliable, especially when people are busy or distracted. The manner of information delivery counts: if potential users have to do any kind of work to get to the reference materials, the materials probably won’t be worth having. Ensuring that reference materials are readily available in all patient care areas increases the likelihood that they will be used.
- Ensure the reference materials are current and updated regularly.
- Include reference materials in all areas where medications may be administered, not just in inpatient care units.
- Provide multiple copies of materials on large patient care units so no one has to travel to central stations to use them.
- Use electronic devices, such as computerized reference manuals and portable devices, to support the information.