Table 1

Definitions of sources of interruption and distraction assessed on the medication rounds

Source of interruption and distractionDefinition
Staff nursesInterruptions and distractions caused by staff nurses not involved in administering medications
DoctorsInterruptions and distractions resulting from doctors on the ward
PersonnelInterruptions and distractions caused by hospital staff, other than staff nurses and doctors—for example, healthcare assistants
VisitorsInterruption and distractions arising from members of the public visiting patients on the ward
Other patientInterruption and distraction of the nurse by a patient other than the one to whom the nurse is currently administering medications
ConversationInitiation of conversation unrelated to the task of administering medications, by the nurse undertaking the round
Missing medicationRequired medication is not on the trolley, resulting in the nurse abandoning the round to retrieve it from the clinic room
NoiseEnvironmental noise that results in the nurse being visibly distracted or interrupted from the task of administering medication
TelephoneNurse distracted by a ringing telephone or abandoning the round in order to answer it
EmergencyOccurrence of an emergency situation—for example, a cardiac arrest, visibly distracting the nurse or requiring the nurse administering medications to abandon the round
OtherMiscellaneous interruptions and distractions not assignable to any of the other categories