Background It is important to know the preferences of the users on the design of the medicines storage area to optimise resources and avoid errors that reach the patient.
Purpose To find out the preferences of the chief nurses on the design and functioning of the medicines storage area in hospital wards
Materials and methods The authors interviewed 25 chief nurses from May to June of 2011. They were asked to name the most important characteristics that a medicines storage area needs to have. Then they had to rate them (1 to 10) according to the importance.
Results A total of 15 specifications were grouped in 4 categories: Classification, Stock and replacement, Safety and Structure. The most requested specifications were the following: 1.-Medicines arranged in alphabetical order (9.37, Classification) 2.-Medicines included and stocks suitable for the needs of the hospital ward and daily replacements (9.36, Stock and replacement). 3.- Medicines containers should be labelled with the name of the drug and the trade name (9.25, Safety). 4.- Big and legible labels (9.10, Safety). 5.- Medicines classified by route of administration (9.02, Classification). 6.- Medicines storage area located near the nurses' work station (8.94, Structure). 7.-Visual code (symbols or colours) on the label to indicate the medicines close to expiry, route of administration, storage conditions, high risk medicines, etc. (8.75, Safety). 8.- The logistics department should provide daily information about replacing the medicines and the reasons for the lack of medicines (8.67, Stock and reinstatement). 9.- More versatile medicines containers (8.46, Structure) 10.-Logistics department should review the expiry date of the medicines every three months (8.00, Stock and reinstatement).
Conclusions The safety dimension was the most valued. The most frequently mentioned categories were safety and structure.
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