I accidentally took home a narcotic!


So I guess there is a first for everything. I am a Resource Nurse who works in the critical care and med/surg float pool, so of course I get the crappiest patient loads and some of the worst patients ever. I worked the other night and had three "VIP" patients (we label drug seekers or high-dose narcotic users as VIP), the first admission, and fresh post-op. Needless to say I was giving pain meds nonstop. I never complain and I really do try to do everything possible for my patients. One of my patients even made me write the time on the board so she knew exactly when to call (which was q2hrs for 2mg IV Dilaudid, q4hrs for 1mg of ativan, and 12.5mg of Phenergan every 6hrs). The other two VIPs were getting oxycontin, methadone, dilaudid, cymbalta, ativan, serouquel and xanax. Anyways to get to the point of the story two of my VIPs were on the call bell non stop, and one of the in the middle of my shift started crying and yelling uncontrollably. At first I was going to give 2tabs of 2mg Dilaudid, but then decided against it because I had already given her dilaudid 3.5 hours previously, she was scheduled to get her cymbalta, methadone, oxycontin, and xanax all at the same time. She had already been narcan'ed one the previous day because she was so heavily medicated so I didn't want another episode on my shift. Right as I am signing out of the COW in the room my other patient literally begins screaming and the bed alarm goes off. Of course, I kinda freaked out put the med in my pocket (I know BAAAD NURSE) and ran down the hall. Once I saw she was okay and she was screaming for attention-- I calmed her down, straightened her out in the bed, turned the bed alarm back on and left to head to the pyxis. I get to the pyxis and I cant find not one nurse willing or able to witness the med return despite going up and down the hall for a couple minutes. Of course I didn't get too much time because VIP patient #3 starts with the call bell and the wailing and the pulling of the foley so I tended to my patient and completely forgot about what was in my pocket. i didn't get time to clock out for break of course and i didn't wind up leaving till well after an hour my shift was over *sigh*. Got home after 2am (I stay 45 minutes away from my job and I had to stop at CVS bc my husband informs me our youngest was covered in some crazy looking rash and was itching like crazy), took of my scrubs and BAM! Out pops the pills. I'm pretty sure the look on my face was priceless. I call the hospital pharmacy 2:50am in the morning...no one picks up and I called the floor....no one picks up. Barely slept the rest of the night because I felt like such a retard for bringing home a narc and my son was miserable. I call again at 7am and reach the pharmacist and tell them what happened. She puts me through to the nurse supervisor who informs me "Well I am not sure what but this has never happened." (Way to go me!!) "But you obviously have to bring it in so it can be wasted." I said ok, but I got to get my son looked at first. She scoffed and said that was unacceptable and to bring it in immediately.....I love my job but I love my son more so they were pretty ****** when I didn't show up till a couple hours later. Please tell me I am not the only crazy nurse who has ever done this?! After all this I think I need a vacay!

Specializes in Med/Surg,Cardiac. Has 1 years experience.

I always empty my pockets before I leave work. I've almost took things home too, although never a narcotic. I did bring a coreg I held home once. I took it back the next day. No big deal. But a narcotic could be a big deal. Just do what they say. Hopefully it won't be an issue.


76 Posts

yeah hopefully.... like I said I have never done it be4 but there is a first for everything. If they give me a slap on the wrist for this one, I promise I wont even put my hands in my pocket while I'm at work!

libran1984, ASN, RN

1 Article; 589 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 4 years experience.

You'll be fine. Just return that bad boy. This kinda thing happens.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

3 Articles; 2,133 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU.

I've done it a few times. Just bring it back and waste it.


413 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

I can't believe the nurse manager told you this had never happened before. Of course it has. Don't let her try to make you feel bad. It sounds like it was an honest mistake and you were able to return an intact pill in it's packaging. At least you caught it before you washed your scrubs!


9 Posts

Seriously. This is what I hate about nursing. We multitask through 14 hour shifts, then get blamed for making the most insignificant errors. I'm SURE it's happened before. Don't stress over it. It was a mistake and you're human. With all The stress you were going through with your three patients, it's completely understandable.

Specializes in ER, Trauma, Med-Surg/Tele, LTC. Has 13 years experience.

It's ok. These things happen. I accidentally threw away an entire bottle of Klonopin with about 20 something tabs in it and had to go dumpster diving at midnight to recover it :p