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The Seven Rights of Medication Administration

Learning Objective: Memorize the Seven Rights of Medication Administration

The Importance of Safe Administration of Medications

  • Administration of medications is a privilege. You are responsible for every medication you administer.
  • The QMAP’s role comes with great responsibility when it comes to affecting the quality of client’s lives. Improper or careless administration of medications can result in death.
  • Both the QMAP and the QMAP’s employing Facility are responsible for medication administration and errors.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO) medication errors account for 50% of preventable harm in medical care. Additionally, the highest rates of errors occur in the Prescribing, Administering, and Monitoring phases.
    • QMAPs play a role in two out of three of these stages!
A person standing in front of a pile of medications on the left side, and a group of people standing in front, opposite the medications.

The Seven Rights of Medication Administration

  • The Right Client
  • The Right Time
  • The Right Medication
  • The Right Dose
  • The Right Route
  • The Right Documentation
  • The Right to Refuse

These are the cardinal rules to follow. You will keep each of these in mind each and every time you administer medications. Breaking any of these rights can easily result in a medication error.

Click through the following cards to see some basics about each of the rights and some common errors.

Getting the right person is fundamental.
The best way to verify your client’s identity is to use a picture.
Don’t assume when they come in the room!

Timing is everything

Medications must be given at the correct time to prevent errors

You wouldn’t drink coffee before bed!

  • Some days are worse than others and you need second coffee*

If the physician order specifies a time a “window” of 30 minutes before and after the stated time must be followed.

If no time is specified on a physician order, a facility may choose to use AM, NOON, PM, HS.

The Facility determines their policy regarding when these times are set.

  • * it comes in pints?

Giving the Right Medication means checking carefully, word by word, and letter by letter…

Some come in multiple forms (XL, LA…)!

DRUG NAMES are hard, and many sound alike!

Don’t give Tylenol instead of Tegretol!


How much of a medication you administer is important

You wouldn’t drink an entire pot of coffee!*

Use the Universal Formula!

  • Ensure you give the correct number of tablets, or amount of liquid!
  • *Well, maybe you would if it’s been a long week.

Medications can be given via several routes, and it is vital that they are given via the correct route.

QMAPS can administer medications via four routes: Ingestion, Inhalation, Insertion, & Application

    You wouldn’t inhale your coffee grounds*

    Giving the right med via the wrong route is an error!

    • *Then again, it’s been a rough pandemic.


    Document everything!

    If you didn’t document it, you didn’t do it!

    Document accurately!

    Your client didn’t actually drink 950ml coffee, did he?

    • I mean, have you tried being awake lately? Sometimes it takes a LOT of coffee.


    The Right to Refuse is ALWAYS right!

    It is assault to administer medications to a client who refuses

    It is assault to hide medications in food without telling the client!