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

  1. 0
    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 me with questions I did not know because as an LVn I am not even allowed to give IV meds at my hospital.

    She asked for my name so I am sure she will report me. After this I told her i would look up the med and I did. I read exactly what is was from my drug book.


    Next time this happens I want to be better prepared with good answers. What is the most professional way to say I do not know.?
    Last edit by NursingBro on Mar 20, '13

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  2. 54 Comments...

  3. 5
    1. You could have said your a lvn and you can get the RN to help.
    2. If you forget meds get a small mini notebook (pocket sized) and write down each med and describe it (purple pill) and write what it's for and some quick side effects.

    Like a boss ,You'll look more prepared at the bedside.
  4. 11
    What about something like this:

    "I am unfamiliar with this medication, because as an LPN it is not a medication I can give to you. The RN who will give you this medication will know what it is for, but while you wait I will go and look up the information for you."

    This gives an explanation that doesn't make you sound like you don't know what you are doing, is honest, and the patient will appreciate you doing the research and getting back to them.

    EDIT: I should add, even if you aren't giving the IV med, it's a good idea to become familiar with all the meds your patient is on so the next time this happens, you at least have an idea
    theleaf, jrwest, tnmarie, and 8 others like this.
  5. 5
    Thanks I will start writing down any med I don't know and when I get home I will read all about them. If I do this in several months I will know many meds.
    Meriwhen, turnforthenurseRN, DawnJ, and 2 others like this.
  6. 5
    WRONG! Anytime you are asked a question, that you cannot answer: "I'm going to go check your chart, I'll be right back". Also- being an LPN (a NURSE), WHY would you not know why your patient is on IV meds, or ANY meds? TIP: Even though you may not be IV certified, I guarantee, that by your nurse practice act- that you are at a minimum to be required to observe the site for infection, bleeding, ot whatnot. Something is not right, here. An IV is not only invasive, expensive, elaborate, and needs monitored, documented, and the like- it also indicates that there is an acute situation in place for the patient. How could any nurse not have such a basic condition report (such as 'this one has an IV and a PEG') on one of his/her patients? I'm baffled by this post. And, to read a patient a drug drescription from a... BOOK? OMG. Thios patient you speak of knows the ropes, and is taking notes...
    tnmarie, LTCNS, armychic, and 2 others like this.
  7. 1
    Weren't you exposed to IV meds during your education? Usually it's antibiotics and the names are the same.
    armychic likes this.
  8. 8
    Quote from DavidKarl
    WRONG! Anytime you are asked a question, that you cannot answer: "I'm going to go check your chart, I'll be right back". Also- being an LPN (a NURSE), WHY would you not know why your patient is on IV meds, or ANY meds? TIP: Even though you may not be IV certified, I guarantee, that by your nurse practice act- that you are at a minimum to be required to observe the site for infection, bleeding, ot whatnot. Something is not right, here. An IV is not only invasive, expensive, elaborate, and needs monitored, documented, and the like- it also indicates that there is an acute situation in place for the patient. How could any nurse not have such a basic condition report (such as 'this one has an IV and a PEG') on one of his/her patients? I'm baffled by this post. And, to read a patient a drug drescription from a... BOOK? OMG. Thios patient you speak of knows the ropes, and is taking notes...
    Every nurse knows every single med and does not need to check what a medication is for at times..
    kayak007, barbyann, Savvy20RN, and 5 others like this.
  9. 2
    "IV medications are not within my scope, however, I will discuss this with the RN and we will print up some information for you regarding this medication"

    or simply: "Let me get the RN for you to speak to regarding this. She is best to answer your questions"

    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.
    Meriwhen and turnforthenurseRN like this.
  10. 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.
    I can't speak for the OP, but where I work often an LPN will be the primary nurse for a patient who is stable, but still may need an IV med. They can flush and assess the actual sites and maintain NS infusions, just not give the med.

    A good example would be a long-staying patient we have right now who normally gets IVIG infusions as an outpatient. She is at the moment cared for by the LPNs but the other week I gave her her scheduled IVIG even though I wasn't her primary nurse.

    EDIT: However, I do fully agree that the LPN should be familiar or familiarize themselves with all their patient's meds, including those they are not giving.
  11. 0
    I think the OP just didn't handle the situation as best as it could have been handled and it therefore freaked the patient out. It's all in the wording and how you say something.

    Like others have said, the appropriate response would be to state that the best person to answer your questions about the med would be the RN as I do not administer IV meds, let me go get them for you. Getting a drug book and reading it out would make me as a patient feel uncomfortable even though your intentions were right.

    I am unfamiliar with US LPNs but our version (ENs) can be primary nurses with their own patient load. Anything outside of their scope (IV meds, sometimes injections) they get another RN or the charge nurse to help them with. Most seem to have a general understanding of IV medication though ie vancomycin is an antibiotic that's helping to treat your infection.

    I wonder what IV med the OP is referring too?


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