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Department: LETTERS


Shookhoff, Mary Lou BSN; Delahanty, Kim MBA/HCM, BSN, PHN, CIC, FAPIC

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doi: 10.1097/
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In Brief

Scrutinizing labels prevents errors

Due to health problems, I no longer have the energy to read as much as I used to, but I still subscribe to Nursing. Thank you for the quality content this journal provides. I especially like the alerts to errors and close calls described in the Medication Errors department. I used to work in labor and delivery. Except for a few opioids, the main drug we received in quantity from the pharmacy was oxytocin ampules. One day, as I was putting the drug away, a few of the ampules caught my eye; they seemed different. Inspecting the labels closely, I saw that the ampules contained oxytocin mixed with epinephrine. Because we sometimes administered I.V. oxytocin when a mother presented to our unit crowning, I knew this was a disaster waiting to happen. I quickly drafted a letter to the director of nursing, obstetrics supervisor, and head of pharmacy explaining the situation. Fortunately, the problem was taken care of before any patient was harmed. Medications labeled in a similar manner can have dangerous consequences if nurses don't stay vigilant.


Wilmington, Del.

Advocacy inquiry model enhances communication

Effective communication skills are necessary when navigating a complex health system. The advocacy inquiry model of communication can be an excellent tool in healthcare; it's been known to enhance both collaboration and learning.1,2

Advocacy here means being transparent about one's position and reasoning.1 Individuals using this model recognize they may not have all the information they need and that their assumptions may not be correct. The goal here isn't to win others over to one's position, but to learn about others' thoughts and assessments to create better outcomes.2

Advocacy and inquiry are synergistic; high advocacy and high inquiry lead to better learning and outcomes. Begin by identifying the questions you need answered. Ask open-ended questions, and listen carefully to reach a collective understanding. This activity can help reveal broken systems, opportunities for education, and appreciation for other viewpoints.1,2


San Diego, Calif.


1. Tompkins TC. Using advocacy and inquiry to improve the thinking process of future managers. J Manage Educ. 2001;25(5):553–571.
2. Advocacy and inquiry: combining the basic steps of the dance of communication. Axialent. 2015.
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