How long can IV push meds stay in a syringe?

  1. 0
    Hello,

    I'm wondering how long does a medication stay good for in a syringe after it's drawn up? There have been many times when I have drawn up a med for an IV push and went to flush the IV line on a patient that's hep-locked, then find that the IV is bad. There have been times where I've tried to re-start the IV myself, but end up needing help from another more experienced nurse (I'm on my last week of orientation) to start it. Sometimes an hour or so will go by because we are so busy and nobody is able to come in to help me.

    I know that once meds are drawn up, that only you are suppose to be the one to give it if you drew it up and to give it immediately. But from what I've learned in the hospital so far is that things come up that you can't help and can be delayed sometimes. I've tried to find this type of information on the internet, but can't find anything on it.

    (The meds that I've drawn up and given after time has passed are meds stored at room temp)
    Last edit by lillystarrn on May 9, '11
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I think you'd be better off asking a pharmacist. Some meds come from the manufacturer in glass, some in plastic. Like Tridill, some meds interact with common plastic. I doubt there's a single, simple answer toyour question.
    imanedrn likes this.
  5. 0
    I think you're right. I work night shift and the pharmacist isn't there when I'm working, so I'm guessing the nurse supervisor is the one to ask? The only meds that I've drawn up and weren't able to give at the time because of a bad IV is pain medication, solumedrol, and nausea medications like zofran and reglan (I believe).
  6. 0
    Quote from lillystarrn
    I think you're right. I work night shift and the pharmacist isn't there when I'm working, so I'm guessing the nurse supervisor is the one to ask? The only meds that I've drawn up and weren't able to give at the time because of a bad IV is pain medication, solumedrol, and nausea medications like zofran and reglan (I believe).
    You could look at the package insert. Do you have a drug book. Most of the time it will mention if there is a huge risk of problems with a drug being held in solution for a extended period of time. It is a good habit of flushing IV's periodically during a shift to ensure patency. Hope this helps
    Last edit by sirI on Mar 9, '12
  7. 0
    I would think that an IV drug book would have the information about how long a med is good for.
  8. 0
    Solu-Medrol and Zofran shouldn't be a problem being pulled up for extended periods of time seeing how places I've worked where we gave high dose steriods (ie MS pts) or high dose Zofran (ie chemo pts) had those meds allready pulled up from pharmacy. Pharmacy would typically give us a 12 hr batch of meds at a time, so I would assume those two are good for at least that long.
  9. 3
    Quote from lillystarrn
    I think you're right. I work night shift and the pharmacist isn't there when I'm working, so I'm guessing the nurse supervisor is the one to ask? The only meds that I've drawn up and weren't able to give at the time because of a bad IV is pain medication, solumedrol, and nausea medications like zofran and reglan (I believe).
    If this is happening to you often enough, why don't you just check your IV site before drawing up the meds? It won't take you any longer, you just re-route your steps. I try to draw my meds up in front of patients anyway, so it works great for me.
    Last edit by sirI on Mar 9, '12
    SN2RN2011, HangInThere, and noahsmama like this.
  10. 0
    Yeah, a pharmacist would be the most helpful, I think. Perhaps leaving a message would be possible? and they could get back to you thru the super? and thank you for having the thougtfullness/critical thinking capacity!
  11. 0
    I'm actually surprised that you aren't being trained to draw up meds at the bedside so you have another opportunity to check that you are giving the correct medication to the correct patient and to check for any allergies that they (or you) may have forgotten about. And I agree with checking the IV site first. These two things would solve your problem.
  12. 0
    I agree checking the IV site prior to drawing it up is a good idea and bringing the iv meds to the bedside. I'm going to try to do that from now on. I use to do that in the ER where I did my preceptorship since patients were in and out so frequently that it did help me to make sure I wasn't giving it to the wrong patient. I always do bring the MAR with me to the room, though, to make sure. I'm not sure why none of the nurses pull the meds up at the bedside, it's always done in the med room, so that's why I've been doing it that way. I am drawing up only one or two meds for one patient and then administering it to them (unless the IV site is bad...). If it's two meds, then it's usually a med for pain and one for nausea.

    I feel like I'm still slow as far as giving meds because I am still trying to get in my "groove" and I'm bringing the MAR with me to the pyxis machine and to the patient bedside while I'm watching the other nurses seem to go by "memory." I know they've been doing this for a while and the patient ratio is low so maybe they're just use to everything.

    There have also been times where it's been less than an hour of me either giving an antibiotic or another iv med to a patient's iv and then it "goes bad" all of a sudden. Sometimes I feel like I have bad luck with IVs or that it was my fault the IV went bad, like I might have pulled on it somehow and caused it to go out of the vein. The place I'm at also has a lot of older patients, so their veins seem so fragile!


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