Conduct Adverse Drug Event (ADE) Drills

​Minimizing potential harm to the patient during an adverse drug event (ADE) requires staff to recognize quickly that an ADE has occurred and to respond rapidly with appropriate interventions. Because some very potent medications are administered only infrequently, staff may not be adept at recognizing an ADE when it occurs or remembering the appropriate interventions to take. ADE drills allow staff to test their skills and practice their response in a safe environment to help improve their reactions when a real ADE occurs. Drills are especially helpful for training those staff who work in areas of the health care organization where ADEs rarely occur.



  • Schedule ADE drills regularly to emphasize their importance.
  • Use simulation as a method for drilling.
  • Rotate the drills to include all areas of the hospital, shifts, and days of the week.
  • Include other departments beyond inpatient care units in the drills, such as diagnostic testing areas.
  • Discuss ADE drills afterwards with all staff that participate to identify the lessons learned and areas for improvement. Get feedback from staff about improvements that can be made to both the drills and, more importantly, to the response to ADEs.
  • Videotape drills to use later as a tool for critique and learning.
  • Emphasize that the purpose of the drills is to learn and improve staff members’ response to ADEs; the drills are not used for performance review.
  • Keep drills unannounced so that staff response is automatic or instinctive as it would be in a real event.
  • Share the learning from ADE drills throughout the organization.


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