narcotic theft investigation - page 2

I've been an RN just over 1 year now. A supervisor at the Rehab center where I work has just asked me to write a statement - I worked on a unit for a few hours the other night & apparently it was... Read More

  1. by   hoolahan
    I hate to tell you, but in one hospital I worked in, in an ICU unit, drugs were missing all the time. 90% of the time, it was just an emergency and it wasn't signed out. But we had in my time there about 5 nurses involved in drug investigations. It is a lot more common than you think.

    Now in the places I had come from, a missing narc was like a crime, punishable by suspicion, humiliation, and paranoia.

    So, when I went to the other hospital, and this happened regularly, they were very casual about it, just write an incident report, etc... I remember there was one nurse who was not allowed to carry the narc keys. NOw I am sorry, but a nurse in ICU who can't carry the keys, but can still have someone sign out drugs for her, and hand to her to give...well, that is just stupid and asking for trouble.

    ONe CRNA went to jail too. Another nurse was caught replaceing demerol inj w saline, and then injecting himself. He was found barely responsive on nights in the other ICU.

    I have never been on duty when any of the big stuff went down, so I can't answer your questions about what is routine, etc, but sounds like you got good replies already. But I will say, it seems to me your sup probably already has a good idea of who it is, and they have been waiting for a slip-up, which is why she is collecting statements. They can't tell you when someone is under suspicion I don't think.

    Also, I never investigate tablets, but would if a unit-dosed foil was opened, we would waste that, and if the little plastic tab on an inj was broken off from the tubex-type syringes, we were not allowed to put that back in, like if you signed it out, but didn't end up giving it for whatever reason, we would have to waste it. This was to prevent ever giving anyone a saline-filled syringe or tampered with syringe.

    I agree, your hospital needs to invest a little $$ into unit-dosing for safety's sake!!
  2. by   Rustyhammer
    Nurses have been stealing drugs since forever.
    Remember to do an accurate count before and after shift and any descrepancies need to be reported right away.
    For me, nothing in the narc drawer is attractive at all.
  3. by   duckie
    Originally posted by boggle
    A bottle of 500 vicodin? I am shocked. Whatever facility allowed that quantity of controlled substance out of the pharmacy is ASKING for TROUBLE. Why put nurses at such risk?

    What were they thinking? ? ?...that they would save a little time restocking the floors???

    Please put your foot down and insist that a smaller quantity of meds, and make then in unit dose too! It's not a matter of convenience, it's safety.

    Since this incident, our facility policy has been changed. The person actually had 2 bottles of 500 Vicodin, that is why I knew one was missing. He had just been admitted from the outside where he ordered his meds via the mail. No one questioned me when I said it was missing because I pay very close attention to what happens on my unit and I was concerned about these bottles all along. After the police concluded their investigation....yea right, the facility changed it's policy and all controlled drugs must be bubble packed, and if someone is admitted with controlled drugs in bottles, we do a shift to shift count till they are gone then they go bubble pack with the reorder. I am still upset that they didn't let me and the first shift nurse continue our own plan. We were doing counts ourselves everyday and comparing it against the MAR. I think we would have gotten the person dead to rights but then the cops got involved. I really don't think the facilty wanted to be bothered with it all cause I told the administrator, give us a month and we'll tell you who did it cause we were doing different things but they chose the other route. All I know is that is wasn't me and I would have been more than happy to take a lie detector test. Funny part is, the one that everyone thought did it was the only one that got huffy when asked if she would take a test, claiming she was very nervous and didn't think she could pass it due to the emotional strain she was currently under.........
  4. by   boggle
    Thanks for the rest of the story, Duckie. Outrageous, isn't it.

    I used to have this secret fear that someone would "hold up " the nurse carrying the narc keys (they were on a distinctive keychain worn around the neck), and raid the narc cabinet.... Kind of like robbing the mini-mart.

    But that was the old days.....different state.....different hospital.....all narcs in one bin.....activity in the med room not really visable to the rest of the unit......

    Now all our meds are in a pyxis machine that dispenses very few doses at a time. (still part of me would like a panic button like in the banks!)

    Guess I could start a whole new thread on nurses fears!
  5. by   Teshiee
    It is true some places treat you like you are in fort knox if a narc is missing. I remember I was a ward clerk in L&D, and there was demerol missing. It came out to be a very reputable nurse. Unfortunately the stigma of a drug addiction was too much she resigned and moved on. But I couldn't get over how screwed up the staff and her so called friends were treating her.

    You didn't do anything wrong! There is nothing higher than truth. And if or when they ask you who you think did it? I would respond isn't that your job to figure out. The las thing you need is for it to get around of accusing someone who may be innocent.