1. Castillo, Helen PhD, RN, FAAN

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I appreciate that each Practice Errors column emphasizes the importance of identifying and preventing problems in administering medication, and I concur with the need to reduce the use of terms that laypeople don't understand. However, the Latin phrase per os, which is used in the case study of the October 2003 column ("Looks Can Be Deceiving"), should be familiar to even a new nursing student.


The article used a poor illustration to describe the importance of the knowledge and skills required of a nurse and failed to tell the reader to beware and take care in preventing medication errors.


Author Amy Karch responds:

The cases described in Practice Errors are always based on actual clinical situations. We thought this incident provided a good opportunity to remind AJN readers about the need to check abbreviations in order to prevent serious errors. Although many nurses may be familiar with the phrase per os, I recently asked 35 nurses in a continuing education class what it meant. They all agreed that it was Latin for bone-further illustrating that these types of errors may occur more often than we believe.


Helen Castillo, PhD, RN, FAAN