A little HELP....please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. There is a situation that came up for me, I'm freaking out, have asked a couple people's opinion...don't know what to do, I'm really hoping that someone has a suggestion.

    I graduated in May, got hired onto a hospital a month ago, have been working with my preceptor for almost a month now. Here is the situation- We had a patient with an excerbation of COPD..DNR, seemed to be in some respiratory distress etc. The patient was ordered ativan 0.5mg every 2 hours to help with anxiety. So my preceptor and I go into the med room to draw up the ativan. When I was getting it, the vial that it came was a 2mg vial. So my preceptor tells me to draw up the ativan, and then put the vial in my pocket...this patient is going to need more later, her situation is pretty urgent, and that way we don't waste the 1.5mg. My preceptor says if there is any left at the end of shift we will waste it together. Okay, so right here, I didn't feel real comfortable putting the vial in my pocket, but I ignored my gut, we were in a hurry, my preceptor is getting pissed, etc. (I know, I know always listen to the gut) So anyway the day goes on and the patient ends up getting discharged to Hospice. Fast forward. I leave shift go home, change out of scrubs. Okay so today I go to do laundry, and I feel something in my pants pocket (I put the ativan there, thinking that I would feel it and remember it) it's the damn ativan! I think oh ****...we forgot to waste on Sunday...I have no way of getting a hold of preceptor...I work tomorrow.
    I'm freaking out...I took this vial home with me, and I just want this thing out of my possesion. My mind starts wondering, freaking out...so I call a friend who happens to be a nurse at a different hospital. She tells me well this isn't good. You took a controlled substance off the unit, what if the preceptor doesn't feel comfortable wasting with you when you go back to work. She suggests I tell a little white lie and tell my preceptor I left in my tool belt, fanny pack thing, in my locker. My friend said that way it didn't leave the unit. Well I really don't want to lie...at the same time this was an honest mistake of forgetting....I just don't know what to do? Do I go to my unit now, talk to the charge nurse (who doesn't know the situation obviously with my preceptor being with me while the situation happened) or do I wait until tomorrow and talk to my preceptor? I am so anxious about this...and I want to do the right thing...and suggestions?? Thanks so much
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   Hoozdo
    Waste it with your preceptor when you get back to work. While it is not good to carry narcotics home with you, don't worry yourself to death about it.

    Just remember in the future to check your pockets at the end of the shift. Not wasting drugs that you know you are going to use during the shift is contraversial in my unit. Personally, I do the same thing your preceptor does. If I have to give something Q2H, I am not going to pull it 6 times during a shift and have somebody waste it with me each time. It might be a bad habit........but we don't have time on my unit to grab another nurse each time we have to waste something. I just waste anything I have at the end of my shift with a witness.
  4. by   nessa77
    Thanks for the reply...being a new grad nurse is stressful enough, without making it harder on myself I certainly will be checking my pockets..definitely a lesson learned
  5. by   Tweety
    DO NOT LIE. The truth comes out the same every time.

    Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable wasting with someone who took a narc home, nor who left it in their locker, and would have to bump it up the chain of command.

    If you feel o.k. waiting until tomorrow that's your decision.

    Lesson learned: I am diisagreeing with the poster above. Always immediately waste narcs, no exceptions, any time. This is the legal thing in Florida to do as far as I know. I often give trauma patients meds q1h and if I have to hunt someone down to waste q1h, that's what I do.

    I know ICU and ER nurses, and even med-surg nurses are going to disagree with me, becuase "they don't have the time, and it's a waste, etc. etc." That's o.k. My mind is made up for myself on this issue and I'm not going to change it.


    Good luck.
    Last edit by Tweety on Oct 3, '06
  6. by   nessa77
    Thank you for you suggestion. I've learned very quickly from this experience that I'm NEVER, EVER going to put narcs in my pocket. There is just too much risk with it all. I don't want to take that risk. So...because it sounds like it is a law in some states (I guess naive new grad didn't even think about the law aspect of it when i stuck in my pocket) could I get fired for this? I am totally freaking out...I love nursing, and have the best intentions when it comes to nursing, and now I may have done something that could lose me a job? What about my license? What about jail? Wow...this is just too much.
  7. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from Tweety
    DO NOT LIE. The truth comes out the same every time.

    Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable wasting with someone who took a narc home, nor who left it in their locker, and would have to bump it up the chain of command.

    If you feel o.k. waiting until tomorrow that's your decision.

    Lesson learned: I am diisagreeing with the poster above. Always immediately waste narcs, no exceptions, any time. This is the legal thing in Florida to do as far as I know. I often give trauma patients meds q1h and if I have to hunt someone down to waste q1h, that's what I do.

    I know ICU and ER nurses, and even med-surg nurses are going to disagree with me, becuase "they don't have the time, and it's a waste, etc. etc." That's o.k. My mind is made up for myself on this issue and I'm not going to change it.


    Good luck.
    I've run into similiar situations, and I have to say it's hard to refuse to do what a preceptor asks of you. If I had told me preceptor that I didn't feel comfortble with this situation (or others) I'd look argumentative, or like I can't/won't follow directions. She'd be angry with me, and that anger would last weeks. It's sometimes easier said than done. I'm sure the OP learned her lesson, but us newbies don't really have much of a say when we get orders from our preceptors.
  8. by   Jamie Dale
    Honesty is the best policy...either way, the ativan still has to be wasted and signed off. If your employer gives you a hard time, ask for a drug test to prove your innocense. We all make mistakes similar to this all the time. Don't stress it. It's called being human.LOL Be honest, looking shady causes suspicious thoughts.
  9. by   RNLisa
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    I've run into similiar situations, and I have to say it's hard to refuse to do what a preceptor asks of you. If I had told me preceptor that I didn't feel comfortble with this situation (or others) I'd look argumentative, or like I can't/won't follow directions. She'd be angry with me, and that anger would last weeks. It's sometimes easier said than done. I'm sure the OP learned her lesson, but us newbies don't really have much of a say when we get orders from our preceptors.

    I do feel the way you do about feeling or looking argumentative, BUT, it isn't your preceptor's license you are working under, it's you own. I think if there are rules/policies/etc. that are set in place, and we "over ride" those rules then where do we draw the line?? The rules are there for a reason, we should follow them EVEN if we don't agree.

    Nessa, tell the proper person and be honest. Honesty really is the best policy! Live and learn!
  10. by   Tweety
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    I've run into similiar situations, and I have to say it's hard to refuse to do what a preceptor asks of you. If I had told me preceptor that I didn't feel comfortble with this situation (or others) I'd look argumentative, or like I can't/won't follow directions. She'd be angry with me, and that anger would last weeks. It's sometimes easier said than done. I'm sure the OP learned her lesson, but us newbies don't really have much of a say when we get orders from our preceptors.

    I agree and I'm sorry that there are preceptors like that out there.

    I always and very often, let "my" GN's know they should always tell me when they aren't comfortable with something.
  11. by   Tweety
    Quote from nessa77
    Thank you for you suggestion. I've learned very quickly from this experience that I'm NEVER, EVER going to put narcs in my pocket. There is just too much risk with it all. I don't want to take that risk. So...because it sounds like it is a law in some states (I guess naive new grad didn't even think about the law aspect of it when i stuck in my pocket) could I get fired for this? I am totally freaking out...I love nursing, and have the best intentions when it comes to nursing, and now I may have done something that could lose me a job? What about my license? What about jail? Wow...this is just too much.

    It's an honest mistake, everyone will recognize that so don't sweat it. Come clean, be honest, and let the cards fall where they may. I suggest rather than freak out all night, you go to work and take care of it right now.

    You will not go to jail.

    Recently, a co-worker took home two percocets "accidentally" and got fired because it took her four days to bring them back. We had called her when a patient said they didn't get the meds and she said "oopps....I took them home, I'll bring them back".

    It was her nonchalant (sp?) attitude that got her fired, and I guess there's some more behind-the-scenes drama I'm not aware of.
  12. by   Epona
    Is Ativan a narcotic??
  13. by   cardiacRN2006
    It's a controlled substance (benzo) that needs to be counted and witnessed if wasted.
  14. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Our facility doesn't consider it a controlled substance per se. We don't track it like a narcotic or like ketamine and it doens't need to be wasted. I accidentally brought a vial home in my pocket once after a trip to CT with a patient, took it back the next day with the seal intact and had no problems with returning it.

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