To investigate whether nurses could be a useful tool for improving the reporting rate of adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Furthermore, we wanted to study how physicians working at the study departments would respond to nurses as reporters of ADRs and if the reporting from the nurses affected the reporting rate from the physicians.
Three departments of internal medicine and one unit for orthopaedics were selected for the study. Nurses with special drug responsibilities were invited to participate. At the start of the study period, the nurses received an introduction with background, objective, method and other practical issues concerning the study. After this, an education programme about ADR reporting, definitions, and ADR classification according to mechanism and organ system was given. To study their knowledge about and attitude towards ADRs, a questionnaire was handed out to the nurses. A questionnaire was also handed out to all physicians at the participating departments in order to investigate their attitude towards nurses as reporters of ADRs.
Fifty-four nurses participated in the study. During the study period, a total number of 23 reports with 39 ADRs were sent to the regional centres by the nurses. Seventeen (74%) of the reports were assessed as serious. Eight of the 39 ADRs were unlabelled and all reports were considered appropriate. The reporting rate from the physicians during the study period was similar to the previous year, indicating that the nurses contributed with additional reports. At the end of the study, the nurses thought that they had enough knowledge to report ADRs. Sixty-eight percent of the physicians did not object to nurses being included as reporters of suspected ADRs.
Adverse drug reaction reporting by nurses could improve the overall safety of drugs.