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what would you do - meds w/o labels

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by jnemartin jnemartin, BSN, RN (Member)

2,047 Profile Views; 189 Posts

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scenario: a student brings in a wrapped/sealed med from home, but it's not in original packaging (like zofran, some ADHD medications, and even EPI pens, for example). consent is signed... what would you do?

  • This happens to me all the time- sometimes parents will even bring the meds in like this with the consent filled out. They have no idea the meds need to be in original packaging. I understand why they do it (usually to split the med between home and school). What I've been doing is notifying parents of what is missing/required and holding the med in my office until the original packaging is brought in. My rationale is that it is safer for me to hold on to the med, rather than have the child keep it on person or send the med home and then the child has no access in case of emergency like EPI.

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pedi_nurse has 5 years experience and specializes in CPN.

247 Posts; 2,029 Profile Views

I confiscate any medications from students, except inhalers and epi, container or not. That's a district policy though. I won't administer any medications without the container, except for a few that the parent has brought to the school in the original container that I have then transferred to a labeled envelope.

Side note, I also ALWAYS check medication with an online pill identifier. I've had a parent accidentally fill an ADHD med rx bottle with very similar looking muscle relaxer medication before.

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BiscuitRN has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN.

446 Posts; 1,933 Profile Views

Drugs.com I find the color of the tabs/capsules and combination of letters/numbers on the pill. I identify the pill that way, print out the little identification sheet and put it in the ziplock bag with the medications. I let parents know that we need it in a labeled container next time. I understand that sometimes insurance only covers the one bottle a month and they have to split it in half--that's fine. Save your empty bottle from home this month and it's all good.

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BiscuitRN has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN.

446 Posts; 1,933 Profile Views

To add--all meds except albuterol inhalers and Epi-Pens stay in my office in a locked cabinet.

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1,094 Posts; 9,348 Profile Views

I am at elementary level so I don't have students bringing in unlabeled medication often. It is more of parents attempting to drop unlabeled medication in baggies off with front office with instructions to the secretary to give it their child at XXX.

If the parent wants something given to the student right then and there we will call student out of class to meet parent at front office so the parent can administer the unlabeled med, otherwise - I do not accept/administer unlabeled medication.

If it is a prescription medication - I tell parents they can always go to the pharmacy and ask for an extra bottle labeled for school - the pharmacies around us will do it for free.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

2,287 Posts; 8,409 Profile Views

Collect the med. Call the parent. Refuse to release the mystery medication wrapped in the napkin to anyone but a parent. Put it in a baggie if the parent won't come and dispose of the med per district policy.

I love how some of you are detectives and I guess I could be too...

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189 Posts; 2,047 Profile Views

Drugs.com I find the color of the tabs/capsules and combination of letters/numbers on the pill. I identify the pill that way, print out the little identification sheet and put it in the ziplock bag with the medications. I let parents know that we need it in a labeled container next time. I understand that sometimes insurance only covers the one bottle a month and they have to split it in half--that's fine. Save your empty bottle from home this month and it's all good.

this is a really good idea for handling the meds in the interim.

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189 Posts; 2,047 Profile Views

Collect the med. Call the parent. Refuse to release the mystery medication wrapped in the napkin to anyone but a parent. Put it in a baggie if the parent won't come and dispose of the med per district policy.

I love how some of you are detectives and I guess I could be too...

I have had a parent TWICE drop off a baggie of unlabeled, unpackaged meds at the front desk asking that "the nurse give these." Front desk is now very clear not to accept random baggies of meds, but I can't believe mom tried to pull that twice! I confiscated the meds and made mom come back and pick them up.

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189 Posts; 2,047 Profile Views

i totally agree. I am more relaxed with non-controlled meds like zofran (zofran is a big offender because they often come in those individual packets, inside a labeled box - so mom will drop off a few wrapped tabs, but no pharmacy label)

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

2,287 Posts; 8,409 Profile Views

I have had a parent TWICE drop off a baggie of unlabeled, unpackaged meds at the front desk asking that "the nurse give these." Front desk is now very clear not to accept random baggies of meds, but I can't believe mom tried to pull that twice! I confiscated the meds and made mom come back and pick them up.

As we do!! Good job. I think back to the days when I was a youngun' and wonder if it was acceptable for parents to drop off aspirin wrapped in a Kleenex (aspirin was all we had until the Tylenol 80s). It might have been. I shake my head daily at what parents do. I sincerely believe they're trying to help and they mean no harm but when a parent does this TWICE...whelp, I start questioning my belief.

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189 Posts; 2,047 Profile Views

As we do!! Good job. I think back to the days when I was a youngun' and wonder if it was acceptable for parents to drop off aspirin wrapped in a Kleenex (aspirin was all we had until the Tylenol 80s). It might have been. I shake my head daily at what parents do. I sincerely believe they're trying to help and they mean no harm but when a parent does this TWICE...whelp, I start questioning my belief.

I asked mom what the meds were and she said "an ADHD med, some vitamins and a couple other things." It was so bizarre haha!

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JenTheSchoolRN is a BSN, RN and specializes in School nursing.

2,448 Posts; 23,438 Profile Views

Here's a tip I give parents that have to split meds: when they fill the med at the pharmacy, let them know they need to split the dose between home and school and ask for an extra empty prescription bottle with the same label. It works great! (I still do use a pill identifier to double check just in case.)

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