Who can witness a waste?

  1. I just finished orientation classes at a new job. It's been going really good and I am pleased with how thorough and professional the educating trainers have been. Yesterday we went over medication administration. We were told that at this facility a narcotics waste can be witnessed by anyone, even non-nursing staff. It was clearly stated that housekeeping, dietary, maintenance staff, "anyone you can grab" can witness a waste and sign the reconciliation sheet. I guess this could even mean family or visitors if no one else is available (they didn't clarify if it had to be a facility employee).

    You should have seen the look on the new orientee's faces! One of the RN's doubled checked what had been said, the trainer repeated "wastes can be witnessed by anyone". One of the STNA's said, "I feel really uncomfortable about this, at my other job only RN's can witness a waste".

    I agree. At my previous job in a metropolitan ICU we were told that another RN had to witness a waste. Now, that floor was staffed by all RN's and a CTA. This new job is more of a mixture of STNA's, LPN's and RN's.

    The reason cited for this rule was that in some areas of the facility (like the Alzheimer's Unit) there are no RN's employed, yet narcotics are given.

    Wow! Help me out with this one . . .Is it true that "anyone" can witness a waste???
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    About neetnik461

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    31 Comments

  3. by   CritterLover
    [font="comic sans ms"]at my facility, it must be another licensed person. it can be an rn or an lpn, but it must be someone with a license. i've never tried it, but i'd bet that a pharmacist could do it, too.

    since we have to record all of our wates in the sure-med, it effectivly limits the witness to someone with a sure-med code.

    i would think that if you were in a ltc facility, there would be at least one other licensed person in the building that you could walk the narc and narc sheet down to see them and do/record the waste.

    however, that being said, before i was a nurse, i worked in an assisted living facility, and the aides (not certified) not only passed meds, but counted/wasted narcs alone. wouldn't be caught dead working there now that i have a license!

    check the state law and/ or check with a pharmacist about it.
  4. by   TazziRN
    Licensed personnel only. I think your trainer should doublecheck on that. Since only licensed personnel can give meds, it only makes sense that only licensed personnel can witness wastes.
  5. by   jetscreamer101
    Our policy is that an RN had to be one of the people who waste a narcotic, and the other can be a pharmacist or an LPN.
    Yesterday I was counting narcs, and we counted some haldol? Why? just thought we should I was told. Huh!
  6. by   Spacklehead
    Where I used to work, we only had one RN staffed in the ER with a tech. Our pharmacist programmed our Pyxis so that the tech could sign in to witness a waste. The techs' ID would not work if they tried to access a drug - it would only work for wastes.
  7. by   neetnik461
    A quick clarification. At this new job there is no pyxis or automated dispensing system for narcotics. The narcs are kept in a rolling cart with drawers and a locked sidebar. So, it's impossible to program in an unlicensed person's name for a waste (as a security measure). Just a log sheet that is used for counts, with a column for a signature witnessing a waste.
  8. by   Schatzi RN CEN
    I work in a small rural CAH, where on nights I am often the only licensed person, so I have a Tech co-sign my wastes.
  9. by   aileenve
    Anyone with a license RN or LPN
  10. by   TheCommuter
    At my workplace, another licensed nurse (LVN or RN) must witness narcotic waste. No one else is considered suitable.....
  11. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from TazziRN
    Since only licensed personnel can give meds, it only makes sense that only licensed personnel can witness wastes.
    In many states, unlicensed medication aides freely give medications.

    I have the pleasure of working with medication aides at my job.
  12. by   TazziRN
    My ER used to be one RN and one tech also....I had to either hold my wastes (I would hide them in the cupboard with a piece of tape with the pt's name and amount given on it) until the house supe came by or the next shift came in. At that time we didn't even have a pharmacist full time, just two days a week.
  13. by   HappyNurse2005
    only licensed here. we use pyxis, and you "witness" by typing in your user name and scanning your fingerprint, and only licensed nurses have pyxis access. so no getting around it. it won't let you waste without having a witness
  14. by   swartzrn
    We use the Pyxis system too and an RN must be the waste witness for narcotics. Julie

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