Pharmacy-Nursing Shared Vision For Safe Medication Use in Hospitals: Executive Session Summary

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2003;60(10) 

In This Article


What are the components of ideal medication-use systems in hospitals? How can pharmacists and nurses in hospitals help translate that vision into reality? Fifteen nursing and pharmacy leaders from five professional organizations convened in a recent executive session to build a shared vision of nursing and pharmacy about safe medication use in hospitals in light of work-force shortages in the two professions.

Many key points emerged from the session. Participants agreed that making major improvements in medication-use systems in hospitals will require fundamental changes in the way hospitals and health professionals currently work. Nurses and pharmacists in hospitals must work collaboratively, and "silos" should be replaced by interdisciplinary teams. Health professionals and patients must be aware of the risks as well as the benefits associated with medication use. Clinical decisions should be guided by available evidence. Hospitals must function as high-reliability organizations; the outcomes of their work must be dependable and replicable. Technology must be validated, not only in terms of its workload efficiencies but also in terms of its impact on patient outcomes. As health professions with responsibilities that are in many ways complementary, nursing and pharmacy are well positioned to work together to effect these changes.

This landmark executive session was convened by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

The objectives of the session were to

  1. Develop a shared vision of ideal medication distribution and administration in hospitals, including the best utilization of nursing and pharmacy work forces, and

  2. Recommend approaches to improve medication use in hospitals with an aim toward ensuring patient safety and therapy effectiveness.


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