Receptionist drawing meds

  1. Okay nurses, here's the story.

    I recently started working in a family practice centre that has been without a nurse for I figure 2 years. In that time, one of the receptionists (no medical training at all) was the one who would draw up the vaccines, B12s and allergy serums etc for the doc to give. IMO the docs were taking a huge risk to save themselves a few minutes, but it's their business.

    Now I'm there and although I do the vast majority of the needles, she's still drawing up vaccines. I've refused to give any vaccine that she draws up and if the docs want it given, then it's up to them. They don't seem to have a problem with her drawing up the meds.

    My question is this: what's MY responsibility in this situation? I know that the vaccines are my responsibility and although I do plan to have a long chat with my bosses about this tomorrow, I'm wondering if I can be held responsible even if she does all this without my knowledge and makes a mistake.

    Anyone have any idea what the legality of the situation is?


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    About laurasc

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 310; Likes: 107
    Nursing Supervisor
    Specialty: 26 year(s) of experience in Gen Surg, Peds, family med, geriatrics


  3. by   2ndCareerRN
    I won't even get into the legality issue of this question. But, common sense wise, not to mention protecting your license and yourself from litigation, you have made the right decision in not giving any med that you have not drawn up and checked yourself.

    If I were you, I would make it clear in no uncertain terms that she is NOT to draw meds for any reason. I would go as far as to draft a letter and place it in a very safe place after she signs it.

    I don't think you could be held responsible after something like that was done, but you can never be 100% certain. If you do not get backing from the bosses, it may be time to start the job search again.

    It is much better to be considered anal than to be unemployed without a license to practice nursing.

  4. by   P_RN
    I owuldn't give a medicine that the Surgeon General of the US drew up and I'm sure you won't either. This ticklish situation could turn into a he said/ she said if a problem develops. The letter sounds like a very good idea, with another letter to the bosses also.
  5. by   cpgrn
    If they continue to allow this I would be out the door!
  6. by   CraftyLPN
    I agree... I would not give anything I haven't drawn up myself....
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    Does the Canadian BON have a stand on this issue??? This question can be referred to your licensing board for their say as they are the ones that would curtail your license.

    Have your discussion, if Docs don't see your view, send a REGISTERED LETTER addressed to Physican in charge of practice and one to yourself----keep yours unopened to PROVE you sent docs a letter; Keep your receipt with your envelope in safe place. OR let your feet do the walking if you can't come to terms.
  8. by   caroladybelle
    Let your feet do your walking and talking....right on out the door.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I would be SO OUTA THERE, but not before reporting this to your provincial board of nursing. You got it right; this is WRONG! Cost-cutting measures like this are DANGEROUS,not to mention illegal almost everywhere!
  10. by   mother/babyRN
    I am with Smiling Blue eyes on this one...
  11. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    If the docs have trained this sec'y/receptionist, it could be that she may practice under the docs' licenses. If this is so, then they are totally responsible for her and anything she does there. I would never give anything she's drawn up. But... if the docs want her to continue to do medical stuff, and if it is legal that she can do so under the docs' licenses, have them write up a document saying so and that you are in no way responsible for her or her actions under your nursing license.

    See, my mother was a medical sec'y for over 20 years. She has no medical education/certification or anything like that.
    She now works for a doc in private practice. She can draw up meds, set up instruments, collect urine specimens, etc. for him in his office, and it is legal, as she is practicing under his license, supervision and training.
    However, there are no nurses in the office. Just the one doc and his non-medicically educated lay-employees. He gives all shots, etc himself. So, they don't do any pt care.

    My mom's badge states that she is a "medical office asst."
  12. by   Jay-Jay
    Originally posted by NRSKarenRN
    Does the Canadian BON have a stand on this issue??? This question can be referred to your licensing board for their say as they are the ones that would curtail your license.
    They do indeed, Karen. What is happening here is highly illegal. Only nurses and licensed practical nurses with a med. administration certificate can give medications or draw them up. Many facilities will not even allow a PSW to give a medication which an RN has dispensed, because the person dispensing/
    drawing up the med. is responsible for giving it.

    Now, the receptionist COULD take the vaccine out of the fridge to warm up, and make sure a syringe and alcohol was available, but drawing it up, that's a whole different story!
  13. by   seewhiterabbit
    But she is doingit with your knowledge. I think it is great that you will not give any of the medicine that she draws up, however, the fact that you stand by while this goes on is wrong, but you did say that you were going to have a talk with the docs, so you are doing the right thing and I think that if they refuse to alter the way they have been doing things then you should get out of there and then report it to the proper agency or place, because that is just WRONG that they are doing that! She's not a nurse! She's a person who answers phones!

    Dirt rubs off on you if you are around it long enough!

    Good Luck!
  14. by   ageless

    Unlicensed personnel DO NOT work under the license of the RN or Doc. That is a myth.
    Do you drive under someone elses license? UAP work under the direct supervision of the nurse or physician. This is completely different.
    The licensed professional would be responsible for giving an unknown medication which can in turn be interpreted as conscious disregard/ neglect.