I was recently a witness to a co-worker stealing narcs and lying about medicating pts. I reported what I saw and now the nurse is on "suspension" but her name has been taken off the schedule. I would like to hear from nurses who have been in similar situations.
Apr 12, '01
codebluechic, a friend of mine was caught altering a personal Rx for T3's and was given the choice of enrolling in the state licensing board's confidential substance abuse program, or being terminated. She agreed and was able to continue working with some restrictions (no night shift, no relief charge duty, no passing narcs for one year, etc.)
However--and I think this is a significant however--she was NOT stealing or diverting narcs at work. In this case, your hospital might or might not want to take a harder line.
Apr 12, '01
You did the right thing. That nurse is there to medicate her patients, not herself. Anything like that has to be reported ASAP so management is aware and can act per protocol. It's unfortunate that the nurse was taken off the schedule in this case ( that's not a good sign for future employment upon resolution of the problem ), but in these cases some sort of intervention has to take place. What that nurse did was illegal and potentially put her patients @ risk. As I said in a previous post a friend of mine in nsg school had a problem c/ heroin, and after watching him try to quit several times I had to narc him out to a professor that he was close to. Looking back on the situation, I should have intervened earlier b/c the longer he went on like that the more danger he posed to patients he took care of, but I suppose I'll know better next time. He ended up graduating /s taking any time off and on methadone ( something he was trying to avoid ), and I am confident that I made the right decision for everyone involved. Does this help @ all?
Apr 12, '01
In my Trends class last semester, the book we were using said that if you are aware of a nurse abusing on the job or stealing drugs, etc, that YOU can be held responsible, too, that YOUR license could be in jeopardy because you didn't report it. So, even if you have concerns about reporting your coworker (which you shouldn't because you did the right thing), think about how you protected your own license. And, you DID do the right thing, you protected the patients.
Apr 12, '01
Years ago, I was counting the drug drawer with the day nurse and nothing made sense. Initially she made it out like a transcription error, gave IV but signed out PO etc, etc. well, it was so bad that I had to refuse to accept the keys, and called in the nurse manager. There was a lot of crying and the nurse was escorted to the ER for drug testing. It was positive. I lived in TN then and there is a very pro-active assistance program which allows a nurse to keep a license. I did see this nurse years later, working and sober. I have also heard the stories of nurses and docs that have been found---dead----with needles still in their arms. this seems to be more prevalent in the OR suites. I have also worked with nurses that had restrictions, in the hospital and in home health. I have had to be the only nurse on the unit with the narc keys and the only nurse to administer those drugs. In home care, the nurse wasn't allowed to do home visits--because of the potential of the patient having an addictive drug-- but rather she did certs. etc.
bottom line--you hurt no-one turning in a nurse that is using, you hurt every-one if you ignore and look the other way
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