Methods for Faster Med Passes

  1. Hello, this is d.page. I just started working at a nursing home. I am feeling slow and overwhelmed with all of the meds, but I refuse to give up. I am all ears for methods or "tricks of the trade" for quicker and more efficient med. passes.
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Calgon-take.me.away
    Good afternoon and happy new Year. I have been a LTC agency nurse for the past 12 years and can tell you the best way that I have found is to be extremely organized. I go thru my MAR before the start of each shift and look for my blood sugars, insulins, and tube feed start and stop times. Also, I find that using the small post it notes on the MAR's helps me be more organized. It takes time, and patience. Getting to know your patients is the most difficult I find. They all look alike, gray hair,glasses in a wheelchair. I love geriatric care, is the only type of nursing I have ever done. They have so much to share. I have taken care of famous and infamous persons, and each special in their own ways. Good luck and stick to it......you'll be fine
  4. by   muffie
    proper staffing
  5. by   jimthorp
    Quote from muffie
    proper staffing
    Well that certainly helps.
  6. by   jimthorp
    Quote from d.page
    Hello, this is d.page. I just started working at a nursing home. I am feeling slow and overwhelmed with all of the meds, but I refuse to give up. I am all ears for methods or "tricks of the trade" for quicker and more efficient med. passes.
    On "my floor" we typically have 50 residents, 2 nurses, 4 CNA'S, and a unit clerk shared with another floor. Lately though we have been having three nurses which makes life for everyone much better.

    You are feeling what every new nurse feels. As Calgon said it's good to know your finger sticks, insulins, and tube feeds up front. In time you will get better and faster at reading the MARs, and med boxes. You'll get to know where everything is in the med cart. You will also get to know your people and how they take their meds. If you are on the same unit you will eventually memorize their meds. I try to keep the meds in alphabetical order in the drawers.

    You'll learn more tricks as you go along, some of which go against the "proper way".

    Sometimes I find myself clowning around too much with the residents as I work and before I know it it's 0930 and I still have 10 people's meds to pass. I also try to do some of the quick treatments as I pass meds. This saves time later in the day.

    It was difficult at first. Where I work you are always getting interrupted either by a call light on too long, running up the hall to answer the phone, PT or OT coming to pick up so and so or asking you questions about someone, CNA's coming to you when they have/find a problem, or need a "pull-up", and ect.

    The face of LTC has changed. We do a lot of rehab. There are many more meds than there used to be and some of the people we have for rehab would have been in a hospital 5 years ago and they require a lot of your time. The vast majority of my time is spent passing meds and doing paperwork (charting, responding to labs, taking off orders, harrassing the pharmacy to send ordered meds, etc) and calling dietary to correct their many mistakes. Far too often it is one of the CNA's that alert us nurses to a clinical change with someone and that is quite disturbing.

    One thing to keep in mind is that a smooth day can turn into a complete mess in a matter of minutes so don't slow your pace when things are going smoothly.

    Keep plugging away. You will get there.
  7. by   MauraRN
    I am a new LPN just started at a LTC facility. I was overwhelmed the first few days. On my 3rd day of orientation one of the other LPN's called in sick. That left me and another LPN with 52 patients. I asked the other nurse to take my patient roster and indicate which pts needed crushed meds, juice vs. water and BP's AP's O2sats. I use the same system everyday, and I am finally (after 21/2 weeks on the job) finished med pass by the same time as the other nurse. Treatments are fairly routine, I have done 2 foley cath placements, one of my regular patients is g-tube. Now if I could only get all of my paper work done in a timely manner I may actually get out of work only 1 hour later than scheduled!!!
  8. by   MsLady06
    Quote from muffie
    proper staffing
    lol that about sums it up
  9. by   feisty_lpn
    Quote from Calgon-take.me.away
    Good afternoon and happy new Year. I have been a LTC agency nurse for the past 12 years and can tell you the best way that I have found is to be extremely organized. I go thru my MAR before the start of each shift and look for my blood sugars, insulins, and tube feed start and stop times. Also, I find that using the small post it notes on the MAR's helps me be more organized. It takes time, and patience.
    I'm agency and do this as well. I also indicate who has meds at which times during my shift... either by pulling the color tabs on the MAR or writing the times beside their names on my report sheet.
  10. by   foxxcat
    Advice
    Well first make yourself a cheat sheet with all the residents you give meds to.then write down what each needs, crushed meds, bloodsugars and so on.You will have toget your self a system worked out , don't go from room1 to room 8 go in order. if where you work has flags on the MAR's there should be 4 or 5 flags of different color. at the start of your shift pull the flags so that you will see them . Mine in my facility are red, green, yellow and blue I use the red for 8am, green for 11am -12 noon,yellow for 2pm and blue for 4pm It is very helpful esp when ya work a different shift the flags are there and I just follow them
    The one thing I have learned over 21 years is I don not spend time talking with the residents while I do med pass, I get done and then spend time with them, that way I am not rushed with med pass or with visiting the residents
    Hope this helps
    Nan
  11. by   skittlebear
    I've never worked in a nursing home so I'm wondering this also. Does anyone actually pull their meds up one at a time or pull meds up ahead of time?
  12. by   CoffeeRTC
    Quote from skittlebear
    I've never worked in a nursing home so I'm wondering this also. Does anyone actually pull their meds up one at a time or pull meds up ahead of time?
    Never pre pour. In nursing homes the meds come in cards that you puch out the meds or some of the OTC are in bottles.
  13. by   Bala Shark
    You cannot rush thru a med pass..Errors can be made..Proper staffing is the best answer..
  14. by   tikip01
    If the facility will allow, mark your cards with the administration times with a sharpie this will stand out when going thru cards, it will get better i promise we have all been there

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