The nursing and pharmacy staff at a large Midwest academic cancer center noticed a need to increase interdisciplinary communication to improve the safety of prescription drug preparation, distribution, and administration. Thus, they created the Oncology Pharmacy and Nursing Committee (OPNC) to establish a joint decision-making process for ambulatory and acute care oncology with the goals of improving patient outcomes related to pharmacologic delivery of hazardous medications and serving as a working group for medication errors and electronic medication treatment plan issues.

Judy Ranous, BSN, RN, OCN®, from the Froedtert Hospital in Wisconsin, and coauthors presented the committee’s findings during a poster session at the ONS 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO. The poster was titled “Design and Implementation of an Oncology and Pharmacy Nursing Committee to Optimize Interdisciplinary Communication and Patient Safety.”

The OPNC included staff nurses and pharmacists from four outpatient cancer center clinics and infusion centers, as well as inpatient oncology units, with one oncology physician representative. OPNC was led by a clinical nurse specialist and the oncology pharmacy manager.

The following interventions were part of the OPNC process.

  • Develop, review, and update hazardous agents and parenteral medication guidelines.
  • Standardize electronic health record treatment protocols.
  • Review medication error reports.
  • Address patient satisfaction.

The researchers found that the OPNC process ultimately led to patient safety and satisfaction, promoting a safe and effective medication use process in an efficient manner.

“This is carried out in a culture of mutual respectful knowledge sharing and communication, which in turn promotes continued assessment, evaluation, and improvement of processes and patient satisfaction,” the authors concluded.

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