TSTC’s Nursing program observes Medication Safety Week

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Cristobal Benavides, a TSTC Vocational Nursing student, explains the medication he will give to a medical manikin patient during a recent lab session. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — Nurses have an important role of explaining and giving medication to improve the health of their patients.

That awareness is emphasized in the Vocational Nursing and LVN to RN Transition programs at Texas State Technical College — especially during Medication Safety Week, which is observed April 1-7.

Heather Sauceda, TSTC’s Vocational Nursing team lead in Harlingen, said medicine safety helps prevent errors and protects an individual’s health.

“It’s crucial for consumers to follow the instructions when taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines,” she said. “Medication errors can occur at any point during the process of prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administering and monitoring of a drug. Taking too much of a medication, very little or combining medications inappropriately may lead to allergic reactions, organ damage, disability and possibly death. A person can practice proper medication safety by verifying it with a pharmacist.”

Sauceda said TSTC’s instructors review medicine safety with students.

“Our students begin that journey from the first semester until graduation,” she said. “They learn about check order and medicine with the Medication Administration Record, and medication when identifying the patient’s name and date of birth.”

Adrienne Reyes, TSTC’s LVN to RN Transition program team lead, said the instructors expand on the knowledge taught in the Vocational Nursing program.

“What’s highlighted in their program consists of how to administer medications, actions of medications and what to look out for,” she said. “LVN to RN Transition students learn about intravenous medications, emergency medicine and medications in an intensive care unit. They also learn about documentation of medication administration, how medications affect patients across a lifespan, legal considerations related to drug therapy and preventing and responding to medication errors.”

Reyes suggested some safety practices for consumers.

“Parents should keep their children’s medication in the original container and with a child-safety cap,” she said. “That will prevent a child from mistaking it for candy. Additionally, older adults can keep a list of their medications with dosages and routes. Health care providers need to be aware of the medications they take so they don’t prescribe something that may interact with it. A daily pill container may be beneficial and should be set up with help of another person.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at its Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. A Vocational Nursing certificate of completion program is offered at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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