This kind of thing is exactly why more med errors don't get reported. At my facility, we have a policy of treating med errors as a procedural problem, not a performance issue. If there is a mistake, then the approach is from the perspective of how did our system break down, and what can we do to create a system that is less prone to breaking down? Rather than, fire the nurse that made a mistake. The reason is that fear of being fired because of making a mistake keeps people from reporting mistakes, which can unfortunately discourage nurses from doing what is necessary to correct the mistake, which obviously jeopardizes patient safety. I'm not saying if someone made a gargantuan error that they couldn't be fired, and certainly if there was a pattern of errors, then job performance would be questioned. I know that the nurse shouldn't have verified a med that she hadn't reviewed carefully, but don't even tell me that management doesn't know that it happens *all* *the* *time*! They would rather have her take the fall than implement a system that requires careful review (which would better ensure patient safety).
Just requiring the input of a password (which is what my facility does) isn't enough to accomplish what risk management would like to think it accomplishes. I'm a former auditor, so this is a touchy subject for me! A control that people don't use isn't a control. If they had a system where the 2nd nurse had to independently input the medication/dose/route/etc. of the medication that the 1st nurse had handed to her, and then the system did a match to compare the verification to the order, now that would be far more fool-proof (or "I have 5 patients who all need meds now and a new admit and two discharges"-proof). There is so much pressure not to stop and do the careful review, even if time isn't an issue because you can look like you don't trust the 1st nurse if you do review carefully. I know, this is not supposed to happen, and it's not supposed to stop the 2nd nurse from doing the right thing, and protecting the patient, and being ethical. But the point of a control is that it is supposed to remove the element of independent action from the process, precisely so that things like peer pressure or a time-crunch don't affect the accuracy of the process. The quick sign-off or passcode entry don't accomplish that. Your facility can fire her, but they're going to have to keep firing people who keep doing the same thing because the problem isn't going to go away just because they fired her. All they'll do is end up with patients who have bad outcomes from med errors that go intentionally unreported.