Help here

  1. 1
    I am not in the medical field so be patient with any miss use of terminology.
    I am here because I have an issue with my wife who is a nurse. I am under the belief that she is diverting or taking meds from work. She is an admitted alcoholic/ addict who has been left untreated for the last 18months. She has had multiple relapses that I have accounted to drinking. I don't think it was alcohol now that I have found more evidence. About a month ago I found a vial of dilaudid in her work coat. There was only a small amount left in the vial. Two weeks later it was still there, then gone when I checked last night. Yesterday I was in her bag looking for tape and there was a used needle, empty vial of morphine, and a wipe that had been torn open then replaced in the wrapper.
    I asked her and the response I got was extremely defensive.

    I'm not sure what to do. Last thing I want is someone to get hurt if she's doing it. Is it normal to end up with narcotic vials,used needles, and wipes in your pocket at the end of the shift. Seems like there would be a protocol for disposal of these things. If nothing else I'd expect a nurse to toss the swap in the trash and the needle in the sharps.
    Any help on standard practices and polices of hospitals would be benificial. I don't want to turn my wife in as that's a hard thing to do. I do understand the addiction side as I'm in recovery myself. I'm not expecting her to be perfect but left untreated someone will get hurt or possibly die.

    Thanks.
    Esme12 likes this.
  2. 23 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Welcome to AN! Te largest online nursing community!

    Moved to recovery for best response.
  4. 7
    I am sorry but I am having a very hard time believing that you are seriously wondering if used needles & leftover narcotics in one's pockets is normal the end of a nursing shift. You then go on to use the term "sharps," which is medical slang, which makes me wonder if you are at least tangentially involved in the medical field and are just trying to prank the members of this forum.

    Maybe I will get flamed for doubting you---but are you kidding???


    If your query is serious, then your wife's patients aren't the only one in danger. She may well die as a result of her narcotics abuse. Saying you don't want to turn her in because it is "hard" just doesn't cut it.

    Get her help, hopefully without getting her the involvement of the board of nursing. Period.
    Last edit by catmom1 on Mar 23, '13
    wenman81, uRNmyway, Marshall1, and 4 others like this.
  5. 0
    Hold the horses here. I'm intelligent enough to know some terminology. I have a sister who's a nurse and a wife who is as well. I do pay attention. The last thing I'd be here doing is making a joke. This is no laughing matter in my book. As I said in in recovery with 2 1/2 years sober. I know what I'm capable of and what she is. This is almost a last ditch effort at making sure I'm not the crazy one here.
    She refuses help of the most part. She is extremely intelligent and as any good addict makes sure that she knows how the system works. I know I was so I know what she's capable of as we've been through a lot. I don't know what goes on as far as standard practices that's the reason I asked. I know she needs help but is there someone who can answer my original questions.
    I'm reaching out to the medical community here. If you don't believe thy people can have a true addiction please don't reply. I talk to rn's who come to meetings I attend and most don't understand it. I'm looking for answers to medical questions. I don't know whatsoever normal and what's not. She's got my head so twisted that I want to believe her and yet find it hard to believe.
  6. 7
    I agree with catmom1. You are using medical terms and even saying "standard practice" seems odd to me. Anyway, I will answer your questions. It isn't common to end up with a needle in you pocket. What area is your wife working in? In ER situations it is possible to have a vial in your pocket had it been used in a true emergency, but normally the vial goes into the sharps with the needle and the alcohol pads can end up anywhere. But you said it was in her bag. I agree that she is probably diverting if it was in a bag. I don't like your statement "I hate to turn my wife in as that is a hard thing to do." Turn your wife in and I hope you are ready for divorce and I hope you are ready to lose her income all together. Do you realize that if she is diverting that felony charges could be filed against her? They were me....I was diverting wasted meds. Took me 2 years and several thousand dollars to get them dismissed. I once dated a guy who constantly threatened to "turn me into the board" it was after I was clean and had been clean for 2 years. Trust me, I got sick of it really fast. I will just tell you that saying those things makes you seem like a bully to me....not a concerned husband. I hope you are not discussing your wife and her possible diversion to RN's in meetings or your sister. They can anonymously turn her in without your knowledge or gossip with other nurses and ruin her. You are betraying her trust if you are doing that.

    You need to figure out how to talk to your wife. Your behavior is just sneaky. Going thru her lab coat, clearly a lot....and her bag, talking with people about her then threatening to "turn her in" is all wrong. As long as you are going at her the way you are she probably views you as a threat and as I stated before, a bully. You should be worried about her life. She can OD just like anyone else. The more you bully her and go thru her things the more you will push her away. Figure out another way to handle it.
    wenman81, uRNmyway, poppycat, and 4 others like this.
  7. 6
    Yea bullying was not what I was doing nor have I told her I would turn her in. I have discussed this with no one except what I have stated here. She works on a post op floor. 3-4 patients a night.
    As far as terminology, there are other educated fields besides nursing tht use " standard practices" or ops specs. The term "sharps" has been tossed around on a every knock off tv show there is. I've been in treatment with nurses and doctors who have diverted.
    The only thing I've asked her was" is this what you got high on last week."
    Her getting caught as well as you getting caught may have been the only thing to save a life. If I turned her in its because I refuse to allow my kids to continue to go through this. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get text message from a child that says moms drunk again, we're safe, don't tell her I told you, please come home.
    This is the problem with the medical field. It's all about keeping jobs and saving face. I could care less if she flipped burgers or the rest of her life. At least shed be alive. The money is not important, it's not worth someone getting hurt. Does any of this make sense to anyone?
    uRNmyway, elprup, Morganalefey, and 3 others like this.
  8. 2
    GoneSilent: it makes sense to me. and, no-she should have empty or partly empty vials & used sharps in her pockets or bag. might happen on occasion, but not very often. i can only imagine how difficult it is being on "the other side" of this issue. you are in a difficult situation. if you confront her, she will probably lie- i know i did until absolutely backed into a corner- & that was by my employer- so i knew i had been caught. i don't, however, know what you should do- maybe some of the others here can give some advice on that. it would be most beneficial if she could get help without having to alert the board of nursing- but it is imperative that she get help before she harms herself, her children, or a patient. good luck- please keep us posted.
    poppycat and catmom1 like this.
  9. 0
    Clearly the problem is deeper than I was aware of. My apologies. No child should have to endure that. Saying to her "is this what you got high on last week" is a smart a$$ statement, not a caring one. I do understand that you are probably very frustrated. As a RN I am saying that normally statements like that will cause someone to be very defensive. It's not a "therapeutic" form of communication. If she is actively using and drinking and it sounds like she is then its going to be hard to get through to her. He behavior is reckless. Not only is diverting drugs a felony, accidentally killing someone is a big deal too! You might even let her know that. Just an example, i was charged w a felony for taking left over waste on 4 occasions. i wasnt caught..i admitted it. little did i know they would call the police or i never would have. Do what you have to do but I would try by not involving the board of nursing. If nothing works then you yourself probably need to consider leaving and taking the kids with you to keep them safe. Keep us posted.
  10. 0
    Not really even looking for advice but I do appreciate it. I just didn't know what it's like to work as an rn. As a patient you only see one side. My idea was by asking if this happens to people on a working basis. Stuff get tossed in your pocket because of understaff or whatever emergency may be going on. This had been an ongoing problem, and it runs deep. I do love my wife, don't want to leave her, don't want to lose her, but I have my sobriety to protect as well. It did come off as a smart a$$ remark. And maybe that's why I got the reaction I did. I did apologize to her and told I her it was meant because I cared.
    Kids thought she was drinking. I thought it was pulls until I found the vial. Last thing I want is for her to get caught but as you all have said it takes being backed into a corner to bring change. It did for me as well .
  11. 2
    Quote from Gonesilent13
    I am not in the medical field so be patient with any miss use of terminology.
    I am here because I have an issue with my wife who is a nurse. I am under the belief that she is diverting or taking meds from work. She is an admitted alcoholic/ addict who has been left untreated for the last 18months. She has had multiple relapses that I have accounted to drinking. I don't think it was alcohol now that I have found more evidence. About a month ago I found a vial of dilaudid in her work coat. There was only a small amount left in the vial. Two weeks later it was still there, then gone when I checked last night. Yesterday I was in her bag looking for tape and there was a used needle, empty vial of morphine, and a wipe that had been torn open then replaced in the wrapper.
    I asked her and the response I got was extremely defensive.

    I'm not sure what to do. Last thing I want is someone to get hurt if she's doing it. Is it normal to end up with narcotic vials,used needles, and wipes in your pocket at the end of the shift. Seems like there would be a protocol for disposal of these things. If nothing else I'd expect a nurse to toss the swap in the trash and the needle in the sharps.
    Any help on standard practices and polices of hospitals would be benificial. I don't want to turn my wife in as that's a hard thing to do. I do understand the addiction side as I'm in recovery myself. I'm not expecting her to be perfect but left untreated someone will get hurt or possibly die.

    Thanks.
    Gonesilent13.
    Your wife is sick and she needs help NOW!!!! I have worked a Medical/Surgical floor for most of my nursing career and I can tell you that "There is NO Reason" for you wife to have a "Used Needle" or "Left Over Medication Bottle" in her jacket, bag or purse.

    When a nurse take's out pain medication for their patient, the medication will either be the dose ordered or require some to be wasted. Most hospital's require that prior to the medication being given that a waste is documented in the medication dispencer the hospital has. This waste requires another nurse. So if I am getting your original comment correctly.

    It seems as if your wife is either...
    1. Pulling Narc's on a patient who is not asking for the Narc's, for her own use
    2. Keeping the waste of the Narc's she is pulling for her patients
    Either one of these is considered diverting.

    I am not sure what state you are located in, but you wife need's to do something NOW. It sounds like she is in full denial here. I am sorry you are going through this, but I am here for you if you need to PM with anything.

    SP
    Marshall1 and catmom1 like this.


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