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Cried at Work...& Investigations


I am extremely stressed out at work. We have been working short for a while. We have so many responsibilities and so little time to accomplish them. I know, I know...this is the norm for nursing.

There have been 4 investigations, back to back, at our facility in which some nurse has appearantly taken narcotics. Now, for the 4th time I am going to be investigated by our facility and by the state. I will be investigated tomorrow morning.

I am just so sick to my stomach. I would never even THINK to take any medication from a patient. I have trusted all the nurses whom I work with until now. Why am I so stressed out if I am not guilty? I have severe anxiety and take a prescription for Xanax as needed. I have had to actually take them lately because I am so stressed. I even felt like vomiting this morning. I can't even sleep! A few co-workers know I have a prescription for Xanax. Will this look bad on me b/c I have this prescription? I don't know...now I am even feeling guilty for taking a prescribed narcotic.

When I arrived at work today...the emotional stress, the pounding headache, the tiredness I felt from lack of sleep, and realizing, again, we were going to be short, I just started crying! I am thinking of calling in tomorrow after I am interviewed with the state if I still feel this way (I never call in and I know I will be working short tomorrow as well). When they interview me, they want to know exact dates, exact times, what meds I passed, etc. I pass over a hundred meds a day...how am I suppose to remember? I just feel sick to my stomach! Thanks for listening, advising, or commenting. I just have no one else to talk to anymore. My friends or family don't understand what it's like to work as a nurse and I have decided to stop talking about my personal problems to my c-workers because I don't know who I can trust.

Edited by skittlebear


Specializes in LTC, Wounds, Med/Surg, Tele, Triage.

Just relax, you did not steal the meds, so you have no reason to worry. You do not have to recall, from memory, which meds you gave. If you need to refresh your memory about meds, ask to have the medical record available to refer to. That way you can see which meds you signed off for what time. As far as your prescription goes, do not feel guilty about that. Your prescribed meds are between you and your MD. In this interview, you should not even be asked to discuss your own personal medical history. Besides, what does that have to do with the price of rice? You said you have been questioned before, so you probably know what kind of questions will be asked. Just answer honestly and you will be fine. You said this has happened multiple times. My question is, why haven't they been able to pinpoint when (as in which shift/nurse) are the descrepincies occuring after. I was taught never to accept a med cart if the count is wrong/has not been reconciled. At what point are they relizing meds are missing. The facility should be doing a better job of narrowing this down. :confused:

Edited by mudd68

Thank you so much for responding. I know I shouldn't be worrying but I can't help it. I am a worry wart, to say the least.

Without giving out too much information, one of the descrepancies was simply due to a narcotic that wasn't placed in the correct placed (locked up). After several months of this medication just sitting out with other medications (non-narcotics), about 15 turned up missing! :eek: Several other times, these narcotics were wasted and the supervisors who were wasting them discovered missing narcotics! The sign in/out sheet was correct, but I don't know how they discovered missing narcotics if this was the case. This is just what I was told.

I agree, our facility should come up with some better ways of dealing with this. I am tired of voiding in a cup and talking with state, lol! I just can't believe this is happening!

yeah i agree with the last post! you know you didn't steal the meds or do anything wrong, so don't stress over it! someone obviously is guilty and in the end the truth always comes out! you didn't do anything wrong by having a prn prescription of xanax, just let them know that for sure before you get investigated and i'm sure it will all turn out fine!

Perpetual Student

Specializes in PACU. Has 4+ years experience.

Do not guess as to what you did or when you did something. If you're uncertain about anything, say so. Do not let them pressure you into a false confession or admission of negligence. Remember, they are not your friends and are there to justify their paycheck by nailing someone, just like the police.

Do you have malpractice insurance? If so, call them up and see if you can get a lawyer through them. If not, get insurance and consider getting your own legal representation.

Your taking Xanax is totally unrelated. Don't even bring it up. If they do, act offended (but not too hostile) and say that it's not relevant.

Just keep your cool and everything should be fine. Think before saying anything, because even an unintentional discrepancy can cause them to badger you.

Perpetual Student,

Thank you so much for your very informative reply. I just signed up for NSO after reading your post. I had insurance several year ago, but didn't feel the need to keep it.

I guess I am just worried about how I will present myself. You know, if your investigated 4 times, it can make you a little paranoid even if you did nothing wrong.

trixie333, ASN

Specializes in Emergency, critical care. Has 46 years experience.

I think your reaction is normal and you have my complete sympathy. I too, get anxious and paranoid with any narcotic discrepancy, because 1) I'm not the culprit and I'm afraid what others may say and do, and 2) it's not always handled particularly well by management, and 3) I don't know who to trust. I get that sick, nauseous feeling too. A similar situation is when coworkers (or self) start having $ or ID's stolen. I'm very much a gullible pollyanna, not wanting to believe this bad stuff happens where I work. Good luck, again, I think your feelings are normal.


Specializes in icu,ccu,sicu,crna. Has 20 years experience.

Maybe you should begin to look for a different employer. This doen't sound like a good work enviroment.

xoemmylouox, ASN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

Maybe you should begin to look for a different employer. This doen't sound like a good work enviroment.

I agree.. If this has been a pattern at this place I would look for a new job elsewhere.. :twocents:

That is why the MAR and charts exist..because there is no way to remember everything we do everyday. So I agree with the other poster - ask to see the MAR when they ask.

I've cried several times over the years at my old facility. The overwhelming workload and mind games played by staff and management...

Keep you head up!

Thank you so much everyone for responding! The interview was not as bad as I thought. I didn't even sign out the medication in question. The whole interview took about 5 minutes or so. They didn't even speak of my prescription.

I definitely plan on finding a different job with less stress and investigations! I have a few I may apply for today; however, I am unsure that they will be a good fit for me. Oh well, I will see how it goes. I just love the pts I work for but am starting to dislike management (and that is a rather mild statement for how I really feel). I know this shouldn't be relevant but it is a high paying LPN job in my area and I am unsure that I will find something with similiar pay, or even close. I have thought about decreasing my work hours to PT and finding something FT.