Hospital nurses doing pharmacists' work: union (CBC Newfoundland and Labrador)

  1. The Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union says its members at an eastern Newfoundland hospital are being asked to do after-hours work that ought to be done by pharmacists.

    Nurses at the hospital in Clarenville are left a supply of drugs in a secure cabinet on weekends, when no pharmacist is on duty.

    Union president Debbie Forward says that does not replace the services of a qualified pharmacist, and raises issues of liability.


    "The nurse who is doing that retrieval is being told they have no responsibility around checking allergies or any interactions with other drugs that the patient might be on, looking at the patient's drug history, etc. — they have no responsibility for that," Forward said.

    Nurses at the hospital are uncomfortable with the situation, Forward added, because they are not trained to handle prescriptions.


    A shortage of pharmacists prompted administrators to make the move, which the regional health board says is not optimal.

    More... Hospital nurses doing pharmacists' work: union
    Last edit by brian on Nov 29, '06
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    I have worked at small institutions that did not have a pharmacist on duty 24/7. The situation made me uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. I am so glad the place I work now is big enough to have 24/7 pharmacy coverage.
  4. by   banditrn
    This reaffirms my notion that a nurses job is 'what no one else wants to do'. So why not have a doctor do the medications?
  5. by   DusktilDawn
    "The nurse who is doing that retrieval is being told they have no responsibility around checking allergies or any interactions with other drugs that the patient might be on, looking at the patient's drug history, etc. — they have no responsibility for that," Forward said.
    I highly doubt Newfoundland's College of Nurses would agree that the nurse has no responsibility in regards to checking allergies or interactions, drug history etc, nor would I take the hospital's words in regards to accountability in this matter. Guaranteed liability in this situation.

    Agreed Banditrn, whatever no one else wants to do gets dumped on the nurses. Also little incentive to rectify the situation if the nurse is doing it.
  6. by   BSNtobe2009
    I'm suprised the nurses didn't refuse to take the meds from the Pharmacy.

    This definitely goes on my list of interview questions to ask a hospital.
  7. by   suzeeq
    Hi,
    Isn't it the prescribing physician's responsibility re allergies and taking into account patient's history before writing prescription?
    The pharmacy is responsible for preparing the drug according to the correct dose etc and the nurse administering it, responsible for the usual 6 checks?
  8. by   northRN
    I also work in a small rural facility in Alberta ... and have always felt uncomfortable on nights, evenings, even some days when the pharmacist is unavailable .. and then it falls to me to prepare medications for use in hospital and on passes .. and I certainly feel that whatever anyone else can't/won't do at the moment, nurses are expected to do! Besides being very time consuming, it is unnerving and leaves me very uncomfortable ... I do check things like allergies, however, I have very little idea when it comes to drug interactions, etc. I 'm not sure I know the answer, but it could be a "nightmare" waiting to happen ........ BJ

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