Discourse / Discours - Medication Management for Nurses Working in Long-Term Care

Wendy Ellis, Sharon Kaasalainen, Pamela Baxter, Jenny Ploeg


In long-term care (LTC), the complexity of residents' conditions and their treatment requirements present challenges for nurses managing medications. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore medication management as described by licensed nurses working in LTC. A total of 22 licensed nurses from 2 LTC facilities located in the Canadian province of Ontario participated in 4 focus groups. Thematic content analysis was used to organize data into themes and a conceptual model was developed. The overarching theme was that nurses are "racing against time" to manage medications and 3 subthemes described how they coped with this important care process: preparing to race, running the race, and finishing the race. Barriers to safe medication management included time restraints, knowledge limitations, interruptions and distractions, and poor communication. The findings can be used to better inform health-care providers and to guide future research. They also have the potential to directly impact outcomes related to safe medication management in LTC.

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