Patient asked me what an IV med was for..i didnt know - page 4

by NursingBro

6,245 Unique Views | 54 Comments

I am a new grad LVN and a IV med was scheduled for a patient. The patient asked me what is the IV med for and I did not know. She also asked why does she need to have this? and Do you know why she has it? She kept bombarding... Read More


  1. 3
    OP.....The patient caught you off guard. It's OK to say.....I am an LPN and I am not familiar with that med, as I do not give them, but I will check with the RN and get the information for you!

    It is important to know all of the meds your patient is on so that you can best care for them and look for side effects/reactions to the meds even if you don't give them.....you are doing a good job by looking them up and eventually they will become familiar to you. It's a pain at first..but your learning didn't stop at nursing school.

    Patients are like animals....they can smell fear/nervousness a mile a way! You are doing fine. ((HUGS))
    psu_213, Altra, and Vespertinas like this.
  2. 0
    Quote from DavidKarl
    Another thought- who ordered the IV med, and who started the IV, and who started the IV med via the IV? Two, possibly 3 healthcare workers involved (aside from the LPN) were treating a patient with an IV, without possibly obtaining consent, but obviously without bothering to tell the patient what was going on, and why the IV was needed. And, also- why didn't the patient ASK the ordering provider, or the nurse while the IV was going in, or what the medication was when it was hanged, since she appears to be alert, etc., and taking notes? Lots of potential liability in this scenario- especially if the RN made a med error that wasn't caught by the LPN, eh? I've seen an awful lot of nonchalance, and lawsuits about IVs.
    Exactly-some patients go on the offensive with every staff member they encounter.We weren't there so we don't know.You bring up alot of valid points.I have a feeling that the patient had questioned the RN who hung the first dose and was just busting the LPN's balls for some reason,maybe the patient sensed fear.I'm pretty sure this person would not have let an RN admin the med without asking the same questions.
  3. 1
    Eh, as others have said state that you do not administer these medications that you will get the RN and she can explain. Hey, if you don't know you don't.

    Now, here is a tip. If you know what your patient is "in" for, and have looked at the chart for CC, dx, tx, etc. Really most of the time if you think back to your dx knowledge and your basic medication groups you should be able to say, "this is for your infection", "this is for your low potassium", or "this is because you are NPO, but you still need to get your fluids...", "this is here to keep a ready IV access so we can come in and give you your #$@ medication - it is a med that has to go into a vein" etc.
    wooh likes this.
  4. 0
    Quote from NursingBro
    Thanks for the tips!

    Today I looked up the meds I didn't know in the mars and wrote them down on a brain sheet i have for each patient. There was 3 meds I did not know out of all of them. I just read everything about them before administering.
    There is a huge learning curve when you're new ... but this post troubles me ... as it indicates that you have been administering meds without knowing what they were for / potential side effects, etc. Please, please do not do this -- look it up before giving.
  5. 2
    Quote from Esme12
    OP.....The patient caught you off guard. It's OK to say.....I am an LPN and I am not familiar with that med, as I do not give them, but I will check with the RN and get the information for you!

    It is important to know all of the meds your patient is on so that you can best care for them and look for side effects/reactions to the meds even if you don't give them.....you are doing a good job by looking them up and eventually they will become familiar to you. It's a pain at first..but your learning didn't stop at nursing school.

    Patients are like animals....they can smell fear/nervousness a mile a way! You are doing fine. ((HUGS))

    Thanks for all of the tips. I have been writing down many meds I pass daily even the ones I already know just to learn any new side effects or new information about the medications.
    Sun0408 and Esme12 like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from jadelpn
    As an aside, it IV's are not within your scope, why were you the patient's primary nurse? And further, if you have an RN who hangs IV meds for you, you need to be learned in ALL of the meds that your patient is getting, as you need to assess a number of things when one gets IV meds.
    At my former hospital job there was still an LPN who had be "grandfathered" in after the hospital would only hire RN. This LPN would be the primary nurse, just not push meds (or any other duties LPNs are not allowed to do by law). So he would get an RN to push the IV med even though he was the pt's "primary" nurse.
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    Quote from DavidKarl
    And, to read a patient a drug drescription from a... BOOK? OMG.
    I don't really see why this is such a big deal. It would be wrong to administer a med when you don't know its purpose. While I might change the wording a bit to eliminate technical language, I don't find any issues with reading the pt the answer right from the book.
    Last edit by psu_213 on Mar 22, '13
    Vespertinas and Altra like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from DavidKarl
    Another thought- who ordered the IV med, and who started the IV, and who started the IV med via the IV? Two, possibly 3 healthcare workers involved (aside from the LPN) were treating a patient with an IV, without possibly obtaining consent, but obviously without bothering to tell the patient what was going on, and why the IV was needed. And, also- why didn't the patient ASK the ordering provider, or the nurse while the IV was going in, or what the medication was when it was hanged, since she appears to be alert, etc., and taking notes? Lots of potential liability in this scenario- especially if the RN made a med error that wasn't caught by the LPN, eh? I've seen an awful lot of nonchalance, and lawsuits about IVs.
    Rereading the OP, it seems the pt was asking the purpose for a particular IV med. The pt was not asking why she had an IV. I'm really not sure where this is all coming from...it is important to know if the pt consents to the IV before putting inserting it, but that it is a bit irrelevant to this specific situation. Plus, (at least where I work), the pt does not have to sign a special consent before an IV is placed.
    Last edit by psu_213 on Mar 22, '13
    Vespertinas likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from wooh
    True. But since OP was NOT giving it, I think he's covered on that front.


    What on earth? You're now just looking for problems where likely there are none. And have nothing to do with OP's question.
    Double like for these parts
    wooh likes this.
  10. 0
    IV meds are covered under the basic education here. Oral antibiotics and IV usually have the same names.

    What's wrong with asking why this basic skill isn't is an nurse's eduction?


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