What Are the 10 Rights of Administering Medication? Key Guidelines to Follow

Medication administration is a critical aspect of a healthcare professional’s duties, and it’s vital to get it right. Any mistakes can have severe consequences, both for the patient and the caregiver. That’s why medical practitioners adhere to a set of standards known as the ten rights of administering medication. These rights serve as a guideline for ensuring that patients receive the correct medication at the appropriate dose, by the proper route, at the right time, and for the right reasons.

The ten rights of medication administration include patient identification, medication verification, dosage confirmation, route verification, time, documentation, education, evaluation, refusal, and response. These ten rights must be followed in sequence to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and medication without any risks. They are not only essential for the patients’ recovery but also for preventing healthcare professionals from making costly errors. Therefore, medical practitioners must be knowledgeable and up to date with these ten essential rights.

Despite the importance of these rights, medical errors still occur regularly. In fact, medication errors are responsible for more than 7,000 deaths annually in the United States. That’s why it’s vital for healthcare practitioners to stay vigilant and familiarize themselves with the ten rights of medication administration. By adhering to these standards, healthcare professionals can ensure that their patients receive safe and effective treatment, which is essential for improving patient outcomes and reducing risks. So, it is crucial to understand each right and its significance in the medication administration process in detail.

Essential Medication Administration Procedures

When it comes to administering medication, it involves more than just handing out pills and hoping for the best. There are critical steps to follow to ensure that medications are given safely and correctly. Here are 10 essential medication administration procedures every healthcare professional should know:

  • Read the medication order carefully and verify the medication before administering it.
  • Check the patient’s identification and compare it to the medication order.
  • Assess the patient’s ability to swallow medication, and if needed, provide assistance.
  • Follow proper hand hygiene protocols before handling the medication and avoid touching the medication with bare hands.
  • Measure the correct dose using appropriate measuring tools.
  • Administer the medication through the appropriate route (oral, topical, injectable, etc.) and according to the medication order.
  • Monitor the patient for any potential side-effects or adverse reactions and document them accordingly.
  • Dispose of any unused medication according to facility policy and regulations.
  • Provide education to the patient about the medication, including its purpose, side effects, and any precautions they should take while on the medication.
  • Monitor the patient’s medication compliance to ensure that they are taking their medications as prescribed.

It is essential for healthcare professionals to follow these steps carefully and accurately to prevent medication errors and ensure the safety and well-being of their patients. In addition to these general procedures, there are specific protocols for administering different types of medications, such as controlled substances or IV medications, that healthcare professionals should also be knowledgeable about.

Importance of Medication Administration Accuracy

Administering medication is a critical responsibility of healthcare professionals. The accuracy of medication administration is crucial in ensuring that patients receive the right medication, in the right dose, and through the right route. Inaccurate medication administration can result in adverse reactions and sometimes fatal consequences, which can have an impact on the patient’s health, quality of life, and overall health care costs. Therefore, healthcare professionals must adhere to the ten rights of medication administration to ensure accuracy and safety.

The 10 Rights of Medication Administration

  • Right patient – Verify the identity of the patient before administering medication to ensure that the medication is given to the right person.
  • Right medication – Double check the medication label and prescription order to ensure that the medication is the right drug and in the correct form.
  • Right dose – Calculate and confirm the correct dose of medication based on the patient’s age, weight, and medical condition.
  • Right route – Ensure that the medication is administered through the right route, such as orally or intravenously.
  • Right time – Administer the medication at the prescribed time interval to ensure therapeutic effectiveness.
  • Right reason – Verify the reason for medication administration and ensure that it is consistent with the patient’s medical condition and treatment plan.
  • Right education – Educate the patient about the medication, its side effects, therapeutic benefit, and any precautions that need to be taken.
  • Right assessment – Evaluate the patient’s response to the medication and monitor for any adverse reactions.
  • Right documentation – Document the medication administration and any other pertinent information related to medication use in the patient’s health record.
  • Right evaluation – Evaluate the effectiveness of the medication therapy and make adjustments as necessary.

Advantages of Medication Administration Accuracy

Administering medication accurately has several advantages. Firstly, it reduces the incidence of medication errors, drug interactions, and drug allergies. Secondly, it ensures that patients receive appropriate doses of medications that can positively impact their health. Thirdly, it promotes patient satisfaction, trust, and compliance by ensuring that they receive the right medication at the right time. Fourthly, it reduces healthcare costs associated with preventable medication errors, hospitalizations, and prolonged hospital stays. By adhering to the ten rights of medication administration, healthcare professionals can ensure medication accuracy and safety, improve patient outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs.

Medication Administration Accuracy Table

Advantages Disadvantages
Reduces medication errors Increased workload
Prevents drug interactions and allergies Adverse reactions
Ensures appropriate doses of medication Time constraints
Promotes patient satisfaction, trust, and compliance Limited availability of medication
Reduces healthcare costs Patient non-compliance

Administering medication accurately is essential to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. Healthcare professionals must follow the ten rights of medication administration to ensure medication accuracy and safety. By doing so, they can improve patient outcomes, promote patient satisfaction, and reduce healthcare costs.

Medication Administration Record-Keeping

Proper medication administration depends much on diligent record-keeping by healthcare professionals. The medication administration record or MAR for short is a tool used to document medication administration properly. It is an essential means to organize the medication regimen of patients and comply with medication therapy regulations. Keeping a comprehensive record of medication administration allows healthcare providers to track the patient’s medication schedule, identify issues quickly, and avoid medication errors.

  • Ensure that the patient’s medication administration record or MAR is accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible.
  • Monitor the patient’s medication regimen consistently and adjust their medication dosages as needed.
  • Record the patient’s medication administration time and dosage accurately.

Proper record-keeping practices also include taking note of the patient’s allergies, medical history, and the full name and strength of the medication. It is also vital to document the patient’s vital signs before and after medication administration to monitor any side effects or adverse reactions. Clinical professionals should also note any changes in the patient’s condition, reaction to medication, and other related events on the MAR accurately.

A medication administration record can come in various formats, such as paper charts, electronic records, and computerized applications. Regardless of the form, the record should be adequately updated and regularly reviewed to prevent medication errors. Any discrepancies or errors should be immediately addressed and corrected to avoid detrimental effects on patient safety and well-being.

Information Included in a Medication Administration Record
Patient information (name, birthdate, medical history, etc.)
Medication information (name, dose, route of administration, time and date of administration, etc.)
Vital signs (blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, etc.)
Adverse drug reactions or allergies

In summary, proper medication administration record-keeping involves the accurate and complete documentation of medication administration events. It is an essential aspect of medication administration that aids healthcare professionals in providing high-quality patient care. Practice diligence and accuracy in medication administration record-keeping to ensure patient safety and avoid medication errors.

Medication Storage and Disposal Guidelines

One of the most crucial aspects of administering medication is proper storage and disposal. Medications can lose their potency or become hazardous if not stored and disposed of correctly. Here are the top 10 rights to observe when it comes to medication storage and disposal guidelines:

  • 1. Right storage temperature: Most medications need to be stored at a controlled room temperature between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Some medications require specific refrigeration temperatures, so it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • 2. Right storage location: Store all medications in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Keep them out of reach of children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion.
  • 3. Right storage container: Keep medications in their original containers with the label intact. Use childproof lids and never transfer medication to another container to avoid confusion or potential medication errors.
  • 4. Right disposal: Proper disposal is crucial to avoid contaminating the environment and potentially harming others. Never flush medication down the toilet, sink, or drain. Instead, contact your local pharmacy or drug take-back program to dispose of medications safely.
  • 5. Right disposal timing: Check expiration dates carefully. Discontinue the use of expired medication, and don’t store them for later usage. Return them to your local pharmacy or participate in a drug take-back program when necessary.
  • 6. Right disposal method: When disposing of medication, mix it with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or kitty litter and put it in a sealed plastic bag before discarding it in the regular trash. This will prevent people and animals from getting to it and potentially causing harm.
  • 7. Right space for medication: Stay organized and keep track of your medication’s expiration dates by storing them in a designated area. Make sure not to stockpile extra medication, as it may lead to unnecessary waste and cost.
  • 8. Right medication integrity: Keep medication in its original container or packaging. Don’t remove any labels or store them in an unsuitable environment. Exposure to humidity, sunlight, or extreme temperatures may compromise the medication’s integrity and safety.
  • 9. Right medication identification: Always double-check the medication before administration to avoid medication errors. Confusing medication can potentially lead to serious harm or medical complications. Double-check the medication name, dose, and route of administration before giving it to the patient.
  • 10. Right patient education: Educate patients on proper medication storage and disposal guidelines. Encourage them to ask questions and clarify medication instructions with their healthcare provider. Proper education can prevent medication errors, minimize waste, and protect the environment.

How to Maintain Medication Integrity

Proper medication storage is critical to ensure medication efficacy and safety. Exposure to humidity, sunlight, or extreme temperatures may compromise the medication’s integrity, leading to medication errors. Here are some tips to help maintain medication integrity:

  • 1. Keep medication in a cool, dry place, and avoid direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • 2. Store medications in their original containers or packaging with the label intact.
  • 3. Use a pill organizer container if necessary, but make sure to label it correctly.
  • 4. Never mix two medications in the same container or shift medications to different packaging.
  • 5. Regularly check medication expiration dates and dispose of expired medication according to guidelines.
  • 6. Store medication away from pets and children to avoid accidental ingestion.

Table: Disposal Guidelines

Method Description
Drug take-back programs Contact your local pharmacy or law enforcement agency for a list of authorized drug disposal sites and collection events in your area. They will accept both prescription and non-prescription medications.
Mixed with undesirable substance Mix medication with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or kitty litter and put it in a sealed plastic bag before discarding in the regular trash. This will prevent people and animals from getting to it and potentially causing harm.
Household waste If there are no available drug take-back programs or disposal sites in your area, medication can be disposed of in household trash. Make sure to follow proper disposal guidelines and precautions. Don’t flush medication down the toilet, sink, or drain, as it can contaminate the water supply.

Proper medication storage and disposal guidelines are essential to reduce medication errors, prevent environmental contamination, and ensure medication safety and efficacy. Always follow the medication label instructions and consult with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Risks of Medication Interaction

When administering medication, it is important to be aware of the potential risks of medication interaction. This occurs when two or more drugs in the body interact with each other, causing unexpected effects. For example, taking two drugs at once may lead to one drug increasing or decreasing the amount of the other drug in the body, which can lead to dangerous side effects. It is important to take note of the following risks when administering medication:

  • Increased risk of side effects: When two or more medications are combined, the risk of side effects can increase significantly. For instance, combining two drugs that affect the central nervous system can cause sedation and respiratory depression. Administering multiple medications can also increase the risk of allergic reactions, which can be severe.
  • Decreased effectiveness of medication: Taking two medications simultaneously can result in reduced effectiveness of one or more of the drugs. For example, antacids can decrease the absorption of antibiotics into the body. As a result, the effectiveness of the antibiotic is reduced, and the infection may not be treated effectively.
  • Drug toxicity: Administering multiple medications can increase the risk of toxicity in the body. For example, combining medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Common Types of Medication Interactions

There are different types of medication interactions that can occur. These interactions can happen when two or more drugs are taken, or when a drug is taken with food or certain beverages. Here are some of the common types of medication interactions:

  • Drug-drug interactions: This is the most common type of interaction. It happens when two or more drugs are taken together and interact with each other.
  • Drug-food interactions: Certain foods or drinks can interact with medications, affecting their absorption or metabolism. For example, taking certain antibiotics with milk may reduce their effectiveness.
  • Drug-disease interactions: Some medications can interact with certain diseases or conditions, resulting in adverse effects. For example, administering aspirin to patients with bleeding disorders can increase the risk of bleeding.

Preventing Medication Interactions

As a healthcare professional, there are various ways to prevent medication interactions. One of the most effective methods is to ensure that patients provide accurate and complete information about their medications. Here are some other ways to prevent medication interactions:

  • Check for medication interactions: Before administering any medication, healthcare professionals need to check for potential interactions. This can be done by using various drug interaction reference sources.
  • Follow recommended dosages and schedules: Administering medications according to the recommended dosages and schedules can minimize the risk of interactions.
  • Monitor patients closely: Healthcare professionals should monitor patients closely for any adverse effects and drug interactions.


Administering medication is a crucial responsibility, and as healthcare professionals, it is important to understand the potential risks of medication interaction. Patients should also be advised to report any unusual symptoms or side effects that they experience while taking medication. By being aware of these risks and taking measures to prevent them, healthcare professionals can ensure that patients receive safe and effective medication therapy.

Effects of Medication Administration Errors

Administering medication is a critical responsibility with no room for errors. Even the tiniest mistake can lead to hazardous effects on the patient’s health or even result in death. The following are some of the major effects of medication administration errors:

  • Adverse drug reactions (ADRs): When administering a medication, there is a possibility that the patient may develop an ADR that might lead to a medical emergency. These ADRs can range from mild to fatal depending on the severity of the reaction. Regular monitoring and medication reviews can reduce the incidence of ADRs.
  • Delayed recovery or worsened condition: Medication errors can result in delayed recovery or worsened condition. This happens when the patient does not receive the correct dosage or is not given the right medication. This could lead to the patient requiring a more extended hospital stay or readmission.
  • Allergic reactions: There are times when a patient is allergic to medication resulting in an allergic reaction, such as breathing difficulties, itching, or skin rash. Medication allergies can be difficult to diagnose, especially when the medication is new to the patient.
  • Increased healthcare costs: Medication administration errors can result in significant costs in healthcare. This is because the patient’s health is directly affected, resulting in prolonged hospital stays, readmission, or even lawsuits. The institutions responsible for administering medications may also face fines or penalties.
  • Loss of trust in healthcare providers and institutions: When a medication error occurs, the patient and their family may lose trust in the healthcare provider or the institution responsible for administering the medication. This may also lead to further complications resulting from the lack of trust.

Preventing Medication Administration Errors

To prevent medication administration errors, healthcare providers must ensure that they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to administer medication effectively. They should also promote a culture of safety and error reporting among their team. Implementing technology such as electronic medication administration records (eMARs) can also reduce medication administration errors.

Common Medication Administration Errors

Some of the common medication administration errors include:

Error Type Description
Wrong Dose Administering medication in the wrong dose, whether too much or too little.
Wrong Medication Administering the wrong medication either because of medication name similarity, packaging similarity, or wrong medication instructions.
Wrong Route Administering medication through the wrong administration route, for example, intramuscularly instead of subcutaneously.
Wrong Time Administering medication at the wrong time, such as giving a medication intended for the morning at night.

Preventing these common errors requires thorough checking and following the “Rights of Medication Administration.” This includes right medication, dose, route, time, patient, documentation, reason, and evaluation.

Patient Education on Medication Administration

One of the most important aspects of administering medication to patients is ensuring that they understand the process and the medication itself. Patient education is crucial to ensuring that patients take their medication in the correct way and at the right time. It can also help to prevent medication errors and reduce the risk of adverse reactions.

  • Explain the medication – Before giving a patient any medication, it is important to explain what the medication is for, how it works, and what the expected outcome is. Patients should also be informed of any potential side effects or interactions with other medications they may be taking.
  • Demonstrate medication administration – Showing patients how to take their medication can be helpful in ensuring they do it correctly. This may involve demonstrating how to swallow pills, use an inhaler or apply a topical medication.
  • Provide written instructions – Providing written instructions alongside verbal instructions can enable patients to have a reference to look back on if they are unsure about anything.

One study found that patients who received specific education on their medication administration felt more confident about taking their medication and were more likely to adhere to their medication regimen. It is important to remember that patients may have different levels of health literacy and may require additional support to fully understand the medication they are taking.

Below is an example table of some key points that should be covered when educating patients on their medication administration:

Topic Key Points
Medication Name Explain the name and purpose of the medication
Dosage Explain how much and how often the medication should be taken
Administration Explain how the medication should be taken (e.g. with food, water, etc.)
Side effects Explain any potential side effects and what to do if they occur
Interactions Explain any potential interactions with other medications or foods
Storage Explain how the medication should be stored and how to dispose of it safely

Overall, patient education is a key component of safe medication administration. By ensuring that patients understand their medication and how to take it correctly, we can help to minimize the risk of errors and improve patient outcomes.

FAQs – What are the 10 Rights of Administering Medication?

1. What are the 10 rights of administering medication?
The 10 rights of administering medication include the right patient, right medication, right dosage, right route, right time, right reason, right documentation, right technique, right assessment, and right evaluation.

2. Why are the 10 rights of administering medication important?
The 10 rights of administering medication are important because they help ensure that patients receive safe and effective medication. Following these rights can prevent medication errors and improve patient outcomes.

3. Who should follow the 10 rights of administering medication?
Anyone who is responsible for administering medication, including healthcare professionals and caregivers, should follow the 10 rights of administering medication.

4. What happens if one of the rights of administering medication is not followed?
Failure to follow any of the 10 rights of administering medication can lead to medication errors, adverse reactions, and harm to the patient. It can also result in legal and ethical consequences for the healthcare provider.

5. Is it possible to prioritize some of the 10 rights of administering medication over others?
No, all 10 rights of administering medication are equally important and cannot be prioritized over each other.

6. How can healthcare professionals ensure they are following the 10 rights of administering medication?
Healthcare professionals can ensure they are following the 10 rights of administering medication by verifying the patient’s identity, medication orders, dosage and route, checking the expiration date of medication, assessing the patient’s condition before and after administration, documenting the details of the medication administration, and evaluating the patient’s response to the medication.

7. Can patients also help healthcare professionals follow the 10 rights of administering medication?
Yes, patients can help healthcare professionals by providing accurate information about their medical history, allergies, and medications they are currently taking. They can also ask questions and clarify any doubts about their medication administration.


Thanks for taking the time to learn about the 10 rights of administering medication. It is essential to understand and follow these rights to ensure the safety and well-being of patients. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to speak to your healthcare provider. Make sure to visit us again for more informative articles.