How exactly should I handle this?

Nurses General Nursing


Ok so yesterday I was looking for my employee file in our filing cabinet bc my hours got cut due to low census and just wanted to look over things I signed in the see if there was anything about hours and stuff like that..

to make a long story short..

In a filing cabinet (and we just relocated to this office and there's stuff EVERYWHERE), behind some folders and a divider I found a bag of medicines. We don't keep meds at the office bc our pt's keep them in their homes. had vials of morphine, ultram, a few other pain meds and some various pills in containers for various medical problems. The meds that I found were for pt's that I have never heard of. I just took this job with this place about a month ago. There's a homemaker service that just moved into this office with us, and I'm not exactly sure whose pt's these were, but the meds are obviously not supposed to be there and if they were, they wouldn't be hidden. Um..what do I do? I started to go waste all the meds myself and put the empty pill containers and vials back in the bag (just to **** off whoever did it bc there's NO way this is right). Any input would be greatly appreciated. :confused:

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

OHHHHH noooooo! That is bad stuff right there. I would tell your DON as soon as you can what you found. I don't know what kind of facility you work in, but narcs are supposed to be locked up...was this a locked filing cabinet? You are in a dilemma for sure. Did you have permission to go into your own file? At my facility, we are NOT allowed to do this. That may get you into some trouble if it is not allowed, but daggum...a bag full of narcs? Ain't no way that is ok in my book. You may have just stumbled onto a pile of trouble. First thing I would do is to find out what the policies are in your facility, then go from there.

CRAP. I'm just a nursing student, but I would say talk to your supervisor STAT. When I randomly find meds around the charting station I'll be the first to say I ain't quiet about it.

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

Sorry, but I have to point out how when we feel strongly about something, we use the word AIN'T!

you have a tough choice to make. you either leave the medecines where you found them. let your immediate supervisor know about those meds. personally the best thing to do is let someone know of your findings. good luck

we are allowed to have access to our files as far as i one told us otherwise. maybe i should check on that too.. but no, the filing cabinet was not locked, neither was the office door it was in. i work hospice and the doctor that just bought this company is usually there, and we aren't fully staffed yet so we don't exactly have a DON, well..that i know of. is there a DON in hospice? needless to say we didn't get a very good orientation. if the doctor isn't there in the morning, i think i should just ring her cell. can i get in trouble for being in the filing cabinet though? and when she asks why i was in there, i'll have to explain the fact that i was mad bc she was cutting my hours. oh joy..tomorrow i'll be a bag of nerves.

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg.

Take yourself and the baggie to your supervisor ASAP!

What a predicament. Best to report your findings to the doctor and I would do so in writing and keep a copy. Hopefully they won't focus on the fact that you were in there to begin with. And no, you should not have been snooping around, even for your own file, without a representative of the company being present. I'm surprised you even had access to the cabinet without someone knowing about it.

I'm thinking because the meds were in the filing cabinet that perhaps someone thought no one would be able to detect them. I would try and find out who could have access to them (files) Perhaps ask whoever is in charge if you are allowed to view your own files. Have them access them for you if you are not allowed and let them discover the drugs. I am not promoting dishonesty but this but it sounds like you are not sure about going into your files. The cabinet was unlocked. Let sleeping dogs lie. Only you knew you were upset and felt a need to view your file. However, narcs not under lock and key is a no no and if someone is hiding and using this is never a good thing. Good luck:uhoh3:

Specializes in Pediatrics, ER.

I would do as the previous poster suggested...put it in writing and keep a copy for yourself. It doesn't sound like you have a whole lot to lose here...your hours are getting cut, you got a crappy orientation, you have no true superior for guidance. If someone is taking narcs from hospice patients who need them then that person needs to be punished.

Oh, boy. You've opened yourself up to a lot. You don't have many options now. For the future...

1. Approach anything like what you found as a crime scene... back out of the room slowly and do not touch anything.

2. Notify the powers that be. Document exactly what you did/found/did in response.

Steady yourself, it's possible you will be in trouble here. Or, it's possible that someone carelessly temporarily held those drugs to dispose of but forgot them, and it'll be handled now without a problem for you. But you have to think of this kind of thing as well:

- Somebody will focus on wondering where else you've been that's off limits.

- You might be accused of not doing your job, you were snooping in management files. Best always to request a look if you need your personnel file. A big no no.

- Trust might be an issue now between you and management.

- Nobody witnessed you "wasting" those meds. Theft? Diversion? You leave yourself open to all this as you cannot account for those meds now.

Specializes in NICU, ER, OR.

mind your business ......

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