The role of paediatric nurses in medication safety prior to the implementation of electronic prescribing: A qualitative case study

Albert Farre, Gemma Heath, Karen Shaw, Teresa Jordan, Carole Cummins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
111 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: To explore paediatric nurses’ experiences and perspectives of their role in the medication process and how this role is enacted in everyday practice. Methods: A qualitative case study on a general surgical ward of a paediatric hospital in England, one year prior to the planned implementation of ePrescribing. Three focus groups and six individual semi-structured interviews were conducted, involving 24 nurses. Focus groups and interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, anonymized and subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Two overarching analytical themes were identified: the centrality of risk management in nurses’ role in the medication process and the distributed nature of nurses’ medication risk management practices. Nurses’ contribution to medication safety was seen as an intrinsic feature of a role that extended beyond just preparing and administering medications as prescribed and placed nurses at the heart of a dynamic set of interactions, practices and situations through which medication risks were managed. These findings also illustrate the collective nature of patient safety. Conclusions: Both the recognized and the unrecognized contributions of nurses to the management of medications needs to be considered in the design and implementation of ePrescribing systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Services Research and Policy
Issue number2
Early online date1 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Nurses
  • Paediatrics
  • Patient safety
  • Qualitative research
  • Risk management

Cite this