Hand pain from opening medication wrappers??

  1. I'm interested in researching whether opening the plastic wrappers of unit dose meds may be causing hand and arm disorders among nurses? I'm a nurse manager of a busy medical unit in NYC. Medication volume is high. I have 5 nurses who are experiencing various hand and arm problems. These nurses believe their pain and numbness is a form of repetitive stress injury from opening med wrappers.
    Please let me know if you have similar experiences. Thank You
  2. Visit EJB profile page

    About EJB

    Joined: Nov '00; Posts: 1
    Nursing Manager


  3. by   mustangsheba
    EJB: I believe you're right on here! My problems are mostly related to skin soreness from opening all the packages, some of which are extremely difficult to open. And all of them are different. I know it is safer for the patients. We will need to come up with an opener that's user friendly and fast. Everyone I've worked with has complained, but you are the one who is addressing this problem. Thank you. Anybody out there have an idea?
  4. by   hollykate
    We no longer get unit dose- because of the zippy new pyxis that we got (Brand new system this year, finger print code, it tells you the exact dose for the pt: ie the machine says: Take Two tablets from the drawer, or whatever)
    I have never been able to get those wrappers open (and the foil off the suppositories still gives me heck) I used a small pair of scissors- I don't know if that low tech answer will work for you- some nurses carry them on their person anyways.
  5. by   Zee_RN
    I HATE those wrappers! We are getting a PIXIS (eventually they tell us) but don't have one yet. I've been known to just shove my pen through the back wrapper (yes, avoiding the pill) or at least slide the pen around the edges to slice the darn thing open.
  6. by   PPL
    Exactly! Not only hand and wrist pain, but psychic pain! I'm just waiting for the psychiatric diagnosis to appear; maybe something like SDS; SHRINKWRAP DYSPHORIC SYNDROME?
  7. by   timonrn
    ...AND how many times has this happened-you struggle and struggle w/ a wrapper in front of the pt., only to have it open and the pill fly out onto the floor!! Ducolox stool softeners are famous for this!!
  8. by   Jay-Jay
    I haven't had that much trouble with med wrappers, except for the pills occasionally becoming airborn on me ( I call this the "reverse mousetrap" packaging, when it happens!) However, I sure have had problems with those plastic syringe containers! One night I was on a surgical unit, where EVERYONE was needing injections for pain, plus numerous antibiotics, which had to be reconstituted, then transferred to the minibag. By the end of my shift, I had to ask another RN to crack a couple of syringe containers for me - I just couldn't do it anymore! My hand was so sore, I wonder if anyone was able to read my charting for the final part of that shift! I also butchered my thumb on a glass ampoule, which sure didn't help matters!

    BTW< I am surprised there aren't wrist repetitive strain injuries from crushing meds -- those silly twist-together crushers are murder! I once was on a unit that solved the problem of inefficient crushers - they used a rock! NO< I KID YOU NOT! All the meds were unit dose: they took the little bubble pack, whacked it with their pet rock a few times, then dumped the crumbs in a med cup to mix with applesauce or jam!!

    Me? I solved the problem by purchasing my very own mortar and pestle! I thought it looked A LOT more professional! [img]/bb/smile.gif[/img])
  9. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by timonrn:
    ...AND how many times has this happened-you struggle and struggle w/ a wrapper in front of the pt., only to have it open and the pill fly out onto the floor!! Ducolox stool softeners are famous for this!!
    Ops! Then you just say "Oh-I will be right back"-proceed thru the door and down the hall a few feet-count to 10 and go back in and say"Here is another one for you"
    I always open all my meds at the cart but I can't tell you how many times I have lost a pill only to find it later either in a pocket or once-down my cleavage.