Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

Giving OTC medications to your aides/coworkers?

LPN/LVN   (5,618 Views 60 Comments)
by knotizer12 knotizer12 (Member)

1 Like; 742 Visitors; 39 Posts

advertisement

I'm an LPN in WA state. I passed my NCLEX this January so I am pretty new. I work at a LTC facility and I had a question about how y'all feel about providing OTC meds like Tylenol and Tums to CNAs and other coworkers while on the clock.

The reason I ask is because I have witnessed many nurses at this LTC facility just hand over a few APAP to their aide if (s)he says they have a headache.

Everything I have been taught in school and read defines this as "prescribing without a license".

So I personally would not do it because I worked hard for my license but I posted this question on Facebook (maybe not the best move) and am getting mixed answers.

One of my professors from school, who is a nurse practitioner, simply replied with "no".

One of my fellow nurses at the LTC facility says "OTC is legal but Rx is not."

And one of my old CNA coworkers just used it as a chance to crap all over me as a nurse and said some very insulting things.

What would you say if your aide came up and asked you for APAP or an aspirin? Would you tell them "no" or would you put the bottle on top of the cart so they could get it themselves?

What would you do if they got offended but you refusing and then tried to make the rest of your shift difficult?

Background: I just finished my orientation at this LTC facility and I only work on the weekends as I have another job that is M-F. Because of this , I do not see the aides regularly and so many of them do not know me.

I don't feel comfortable giving out OTC medications to anyone who doesn't have a doctor's order because I do not know what else they are taking or what medical issues they have BUT a also don't want to "rock the boat" and have my CNAs get mad at me because "all the other nurses do it".

CNAs who might be reading this, what do you do when you have a headache at work? Do you have your own supply of OTC meds to take or do you go ask your nurse? Does your nurse give you medication?

What would your reaction be if your nurses did not give you medication?

In my mind, the worst reaction would be for the CNAs to start referring to me as the mean nurse and not wanting to work with me. Or IF they do have to work with me, they are uncooperative.

So how do you guys feel about giving OTC meds to CNAs or other coworkers? How do you deal with someone getting offended and not helping you just because you said "no".

Thanks for the responses and advice!

Edited by sirI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

670 Likes; 2 Followers; 28,804 Visitors; 4,057 Posts

I have no problem handing out OTC medication to coworkers. It's from my personal supply, though ...never from the facility's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 Like; 302 Visitors; 21 Posts

I don't see a problem with it because A) the CNAs are not your patients in any capacity B) they are adults fully capable of making decisions about their own health C) I think it would be preferable to give them an OTC rather than them going home or worse... jeopardizing patient's safety because they were in pain. However I do understand where you are coming from. At my facility we keep a stash of Ibuprofen, Tums and Band-Aids with the office supplies. It's not accessible to residents, only staff. See if this could be a possibility at your facility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and works as a Nursing Professional Development + Academic Facult.

239 Likes; 5 Followers; 57,538 Visitors; 12,974 Posts

I have no problem handing out OTC medication to coworkers. It's from my personal supply, though ...never from the facility's.

That's what I do. As a friend, I don't mind giving someone something out of my purse. But I would never help the person steal medication from our employer. It's the stealing that bothers me, not the fact that my colleague is choosing to take a Tylenol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 Like; 742 Visitors; 39 Posts

Thanks for the replies, all!

What would you do if the aide or coworker starts having a reaction and all the heat came down on you for giving them the medication?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

psu_213 has 6 years experience.

26 Likes; 27,409 Visitors; 3,869 Posts

At my facility we keep a stash of Ibuprofen, Tums and Band-Aids with the office supplies. It's not accessible to residents, only staff. See if this could be a possibility at your facility.

I worked on a unit where we had that stuff in a little "OTC pharmacy" in the break room.

I have no problem giving a coworker a Tylenol, ibuprofen, Tums, etc. if they ask for it. Heck I've asked my coworkers if I bum a Tylenol for a HA--from their personal stash of course. On a side note, I never accept one from a person who takes a pill from an unmarked pill bottle and says "trust me, it's a Tylenol."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
advertisement

4 Likes; 8,923 Visitors; 385 Posts

Each one of the nursing jobs I had kept a little stash in the office. Otc meds were kept in the original bottles and a nurse had to go in with the person who was requesting something, whether they were licensed or unlicensed. I've only been asked for something on two occasions. Most people brought their own from home. Nothing was dispensed from the med cart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 Like; 302 Visitors; 21 Posts

Thanks for the replies, all!

What would you do if the aide or coworker starts having a reaction and all the heat came down on you for giving them the medication?

In this unlikely but possible situation, don't give a OTC they didn't ask for. Let's say they asked for a Tylenol but you only have Ibuprofen, tell them sorry you only have Ibuprofen, ask them if they ever took it before, if they haven't, then maybe you shouldn't give it. And NEVER give more than recommend amount on the bottle. But to avoid all responsibilty keep a bottle they can access themselves and self administer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and works as a RN Supervisor.

259 Likes; 28,433 Visitors; 2,758 Posts

I think that's kind of considered one of the perks of working LTC. Nobody where I work has an issue with staff using OTC meds from the cart. Our med carts are all stocked with Ibuprofen and Naproxen and not a single resident uses them, they are pretty much there just for staff. Heck if the DON needs a tylenol or a tums she comes to one of the nurses to grab it off the med cart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

670 Likes; 2 Followers; 28,804 Visitors; 4,057 Posts

Thanks for the replies, all!

What would you do if the aide or coworker starts having a reaction and all the heat came down on you for giving them the medication?

That's some straight up paranoia, friend. Of all the millions of people in the world, can you think of any cases where a coworker gave another one OTC medication and got in some sort of legal trouble for it? It just doesn't happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KelRN215 has 10 years experience and works as a Complex Care Manager.

38 Likes; 67,242 Visitors; 7,344 Posts

Thanks for the replies, all!

What would you do if the aide or coworker starts having a reaction and all the heat came down on you for giving them the medication?

Um, presumably an adult has taken Ibuprofen or Tylenol several times in their life and knows whether or not they have an allergy to it.

When I worked in the hospital, our pyxis had an option for "staff OTC". Only nurses could access it though. But, yes, I would (and did, many times) pull Tylenol or Ibuprofen for CNAs, MDs, NPs, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tenebrae has 6 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse in Gerontology.

144 Likes; 10,326 Visitors; 1,379 Posts

I have no troubles giving tylenol otc. Would rather do that than have to have them leave midshift due to headache or what not

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×