Giving the wrong meds.

  1. 0
    I'm a CNA at an ALF. I went in Sunday night for my shift and the new day shift nurse was still handing out her evening meds. The night shift nurse had just arrived and began helping her get finished.
    Next thing I know, day shift nurse walks out of a resident's room, stops, then screams out, "I just gave that resident another resident's pills!!"

    To make a long story short, we kept an extremely close eye on this particular resident all night because she has normal BP but one of the pills given to her was for high BP. It rode very low all night; she felt terrible. Thankfully, we didn't have to send her out but it was still a highly stressful night.

    The nurse received no disciplinary action and that really bothers me. She didn't even show remorse. She just went home and didn't even call to check on the resident. Have you guys ever experienced this? How was it handled?

  2. Enjoy this?

    Join thousands and get our weekly Nursing Insights newsletter with the hottest, discussions, articles, and toons.

  3. 15 Comments...

  4. 19
    What do you think would be sufficient? A public flogging?
    squatmunkie_RN, KelRN215, BluegrassRN, and 16 others like this.
  5. 4
    I'm sure the new nurse felt very sorry for her error. In nursing, it's very difficult to separate work from personal life, so I can see why she wouldn't want to call and check on the patient. Plus, if the night shift was coming on, she would probably be sleeping.

    Medication errors happen all the time unfortunately. If this was her first error, she probably received a verbal or written warning and will hopefully be more careful in the future.
  6. 1
    We had an agency nurse give insulin to the wrong patient (a non-diabetic with the same first name and last initial). The resident was put on the 24 hour change of condition report. We monitored her closely, and the agency nurse was written up for a med error. The incident seemed to bother the nurse, but she didn't call to check on the resident's condition. I imagine she was embarassed, since she failed to do her 5 rights.
    imintrouble likes this.
  7. 14
    You are NOT on the other side of the management door. A major error like this does require a thorough investigation and more may have occured between the Admin and that newbie nurse, and YOU are not needed to be included in that review. You are not the judge of what is or is not the appropriate level of concern by that nurse. Did she drive home in tears? Did she get any sleep that night? Did she speak with the boss on the phone? Do you know any of that?

    What makes you feel like you have the right to be her judge and jury? And what is an appropriate disciplinary action - public flogging or stoning? Sackcloth and ashes? There has to be more to this sad incident for which you are not privy.

    I'm reminded about something in the Bible, about 'casting the first stone'. And something about 'living in glass houses' comes to mind; 'walking a mile in my shoes', also. I can sympathize for that new nurse. I do hope she learns from her error and will be a better nurse for it.

    This truly is a situation between her and mgt.....NOT YOU. Leave it to them.
    whslee01, missminnie, ktwlpn, and 11 others like this.
  8. 6
    How do you know that she rec'd no disciplinary action? That would be between her and management. No one else should know about it. As for calling in, what would that accomplish? Mistakes happen. This was a bad one but hopefully she will,learn from it and become a better nurse.
    KelRN215, BluegrassRN, sweetnurse63, and 3 others like this.
  9. 7
    On my floor, med errors aren't handled punitively. We aren't written up or disciplined per se. Med errors are always handled as learning opportunities...unless someone tries to cover up the error. When something carries the potential for punishment, it's surprising what people will do in order to avoid being punished.
    BluegrassRN, merlee, Hygiene Queen, and 4 others like this.
  10. 7
    EVERYONE makes med errors once in a great while. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or to stupid and unobservant to notice.

    What business of yours is it how or if she's being punished? If you're planning on being a nurse you better learn fast how to tone down the immaturity and the "drama queen" factor.
    missminnie, BluegrassRN, merlee, and 4 others like this.
  11. 2
    moved to nursing and patient medications.

    please refrain from name-calling and personal attacks. the op has posted a legitimate concern, to which members may respond without the judgmental tone.
    missminnie and AnitaHug like this.
  12. 2
    I think the fact that she "screamed" I just gave that patient someone else's medication is a pretty good indication that she acknowledges what she did. From that point on, what should she have done? Thrown herself on the floor and kicked and screamed, rend her scrubs and cry?

    It's been said already, you wouldn't know if she received any slap on the wrist or a bawling out. You're night shift, she's day shift. You don't know if she drove home in tears, replaying the whole thing in her head repeatedly. Calling to check in on the patient? How about giving her some credit to know what meds she gave and what those meds do, and knowing that the right people know what happened and they'll call if the poo hit the fan.

    If you were in her shoes, I would guess that you'd be pleased as punch to not have disciplinary action taken against you.
    amoLucia and Hygiene Queen like this.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.