7 General Principles of Medication Administration


7 General Principles of Medication Administration


  1. Essential information about each drug:

  • indications for use

  • contraindications

  • therapeutic effects

  • adverse effects

  • specific administration instructions

 2. Interpret prescribed orders accurately

  • drug name

  • dose

  • frequency of administration

 3. Examine drug labels

  • drug name

  • concentration (mg/tablet, capsule or mL soln)

 4. Accurately calculate dosages

  • ask a colleague to check

  • ask colleague to do calculations then compare your results

 5. Seek information regarding pt’s medical diagnosis and condition in relation to drug administration

  • ability to swallow po meds

  • allergies

  • contraindications

  • new signs or symptoms which may indicate adverse affects of administration. Heart, liver or kidney disorders may interfere with pt’s ability to eliminate drugs from the body.

  • Verify client identity before administering medication to the pt

 6. Omit or delay doses as indicated by the client’s condition

  • report and document omissions appropriately

 7. Take great care when administering drugs to children

  • high risk of medication errors due to

  • changes – in weight and age

  • eg 2 kgs to 100+

  • most drugs have not been tested in children

  • many drugs are marked in dosage forms and concentrations suitable for adults

  • therefore this requires dilution, calculation, preparation and administration of very small doses

  • children have limited sites for IV drug administration, several drugs may be given through the same site.

  • This increases the need for small volumes of fluid and flushing between sites


 Abrams, Anne Collins. 2005. Foundations of Clinical drug therapy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p.37


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