Pharmacy News

Dr Marie Sartain
/ Categories: APhA News

ISMP releases survey on pharmacists’ support during a code

A recent survey from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) puts the pharmacist’s role during code situations into focus.

Although they may be called on to assist with basic life support, defibrillation, or intubation, according to the survey pharmacists may more often be relied upon to prepare medications, retrieve drugs and/or equipment from code carts or elsewhere, and consult on appropriate interventions and dosages.

Among 410 pharmacists who completed the ISMP poll, most had some level of experience responding to codes, with only 5% reporting none. Despite the high level of exposure, more than one-third of respondents expressed feeling ill-equipped to handle code situations.

More than one-half received instruction on the indications, preparation, and adult doses of medications often used during codes, and an even greater share were trained on where to find medications in the code cart.

However, very few had an opportunity to shadow another pharmacist during a code or to participate in a mock event. No required training at all was reported by 7% of all respondents. The survey responses also revealed a high level of worry among pharmacists about making medication errors during a code due not only to inexperience or inadequate training, but also due to lack of clear communication, chaos in a crowded and rushed environment, lack of patient information, and other issues.

In light of the poll results, ISMP offered recommendations for code preparation, including requiring pharmacy participation, conducting practice simulations, and clearly spelling out responsibilities. The organization also advised steps to follow during a code; for instance, double-checking doses as well as securing and replenishing supplies for the next episode after a code.

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