need perspective- rapid administration of potassium - page 2

I am an experienced nurse and need feedback on a med error I caught. I received a patient who had a potassium level of 2.3, in checking the pump settings during handoff, I saw that the potassium was programmed to run in... Read More

  1. 0

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 0
    Quote from VegRN

    Yup, I was being careful, as I mentioned, the previous nurse programmed it incorrectly and when I received the patient I went in right away to check the drip rates and noticed it was programmed wrong.
    Sorry, I wasn't directing that last sentence at you, but just the community as a whole. Good for you for catching and correcting that (very serious) error.
  3. 0
    Well......for most institutions.....20meq/hr in a central line only is the standard of care. However.....I have seen as high as 40meq/hr in a central line only....and that is RARE AND losely monitored in certain situations where the K+ is critically low and massive diuresis is occurring, like Diabeties insipidus and DKA with critical acidosis and hypokalemia

    All patients receiving over 10meq/hr need to be on a cardiac monitor and access for immediate resuscitative equipment available.

    protocol from the Bon Secours system

    Correction of Critical Hypokalemia - emergency medicine updates

    But regardless of the evidence saying it is OK...per se......this patient was not in an intensive care setting. You need to look at your policy at your facility. My issue is also the intent of the order was not to infuse 30 meq/45min....and certainly not on a peripheral line. Whoever did the calculation missed a decimal/ the infusion should have been over 3 hours. what was the order? what did the order say?
  4. 1
    Our policy is K at 10mEq per hour MAX. I've given up to 60 mEqs IV before over 6 hours, but we absolutely do not go over 10mEq/hr. And I work a hem/onc unit. We have central lines everywhere!
    dudette10 likes this.
  5. 0
    That is way too fast. Potassium should be given at a MAX of 10mEq/hr through a peripheral line and 20mEq/hr through a central line. PO administration is actually the best way to give potassium, unless of course that route is contraindicated.
  6. 0
    Check the administration guidelines in your facility and talk with the pharmacist. I would seriously doubt that that is an acceptable choice for admin rate! I would also take what you learned and educate your peer, either using the unit educator or manager as an intermediary or individually as the situation calls for.
  7. 0
    The nurse that gave me report was there when I caught the error, it was a mistake, she felt awful about it.
  8. 0
    Quote from VegRN
    The nurse that gave me report was there when I caught the error, it was a mistake, she felt awful about it.
    Do your pumps have a drug library? This high rate would have been caught by the pump if you guys had access to smart ones with programmed drugs. For example, when I give K, I find potassium in my drug library and select the concentration I'm hanging. I can adjust the mEq/hr rate of the infusion, but the pump will alarm "high rate" and ask me to override in order to run. So, if I make a mistake while hitting the buttons, I have a safety mechanism in place.

    Since this was an actual med error, I'm sure you filled out an incident report. When your facility gets enough of these, they will finally invest in smart pumps.

    Sent from my iPhone using

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

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors