missing narcs

Nurses LPN/LVN


I went to work yesterday and did my shift change, the narc count was right, nothing seemed to be missing. Throughout the day one of our residents was needing her pain pill, so I went to the narc box and didn't find her med card, I looked through the entire med cart and couldn't find her pills. We have a signout sheet for narcs so I went to the folder to check and see if the narcs were being reordered, I found no signout sheet. So the next thing I did was checked the pharmacy slips, saw the meds were delivered the previous day, and that they were signed off by the RN. So again I went through my entire med cart and nothing. I asked the other RN if she could check her med cart in case the narcs were accidentally placed in hers, she says no. So I'm freaking out, I don't know where they could have put her meds. We call the DON, and ask if she knows anything about her narcs, DON says she has some meds and she'll go through them and see if she has them. No! The DON doesn't have them. So I search my med cart again, the DON looks through it, the RN looks through it, and NOTHING! 60 pills are missing. They call the RN who signed off for the narcs, she says yes they were received and she placed them in the narc box and placed the sign off sheet in the narc folder. That RN did her shift change and the Nurse who took over verifies that the narcs were in the lock box. So now they call the nurse who did shift change with me that morning, that nurse says no, I don't remember seeing any meds for that resident. So my DON tells me that I need to get done with my med pass, and go to the hospital and get a drug test. I show up and one of the other nurses is there as well, we talk for a few and she says that the meds were there when she left at 11pm. I told her I did not see any narcs for that resident that morning at 7A. I don't know what to believe, either someone left there med cart unlocked and unattended and some one else took the meds, or they were placed else where, or even worse one of the nurses took them. So now I'm stressing out, cause I don't know what's going to happen. I told my DON the narcs were not there this morning, I didn't see any narcs for that resident. I was off work for 5 days, normally I work a different side and hallway. So I'm not famililar with these residents, plus this resident had been re admitted after being sent to the hospital for a few days, when she was re admitted to the facility she had orders for this narc. How am I suppose to know what she is on?? I wasn't told during report that she was even in the hospital. I worked hard to get done with school and I plan on going back to school and hopefully becoming a nurse practitioner. I'm not being blamed for the missing narcs, my DON believed me, but I'm afraid of losing my job. Plus my hubby is stressing me out, by constantly saying what if you get fired for something you didn't do, and you need to find a different job. *sigh* he's not helping any by adding stress to this situation...

Specializes in Case Mgmt, Anesthesia, ICU, ER, Dialysis.

If your pee test is negative, there's nothing they can do. Consult an attorney if you're nervous. Good luck.


520 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

I had something similar happen to me a while back. we had 90 ativans missing that were in the med room locked up ....turns out they had accidentally been sent back to the pharmacy for destruction. It took us several days to find out but finally after lots of calls to the pharmacy we found out what happened...then the most recent thing was 10 vicodins were gone.....a pt had been discharged....we were counting at shift change and that nurse handed me the card..there were 3 narcs total....and there were 5 of us nurses present....that nurse handed the cards to me...i handed them to the night nurse to lock up...they were all there and counted for..just had to be locked up. i told the night nurse to go ahead and send them back to the pharmacy b/c pharm wouldve come in on them to take that box back....she didnt do it...she just stuck them in a cabinet in the med room. ....soooooooo a few days went by and another night nurse sent them back and the lock ties that go on the tote didnt match the tie number when it reached the pharmacy .....so....even though the paperwork was filled out ..etc etc....those vics were gone. apparently someone went in and took a tie off to either take something out or put something in that box....and put a different tie on.....to this day we dont know if they were ever found. i offered to do a drug test but mgmt told me no that they didnt need mine. I told them that if they did me...theyd have to do all the nurses...thus ..nothing was ever done..but hey...thats just how they roll i guess.....for all i know a pharmacy driver coulda done it....or it coulda been a nurse.....im not sure. Ive also had a time when a day nurse got a narc from backup and never signed for it on the mar or sheet and when we counted it...it was short and we notified the don...the other day nurses got mad about it b/c we didnt "come to them first"....well.....i told them i wasnt putting my license on the line for nobody and i wasnt gonna be responsible for someone elses mistake or carelessness..if they had counted it like they shouldve it wouldve been handled appropriately. i wouldnt sweat it though..as long as you are negative.

I can understand your frustration. When I worked LTC as a CNA those nurses would leave the med cart UNLOCKED and unattended many times. I would pass by and do you know how easy it would have been for me to go in there and take meds? If I wanted to get back at any of those nurses, I had perfect opportunity to do so. Why they would leave a med cart unlocked is beyond me. I worked with a former nurse who worked at that same facility who was now a patient, and she knew the ins and outs. She picked the lock and entered the med room, which was behind the nurses station. How she had enough time to do it with nobody seeing her was scary. Even the med room can't be left unattended.

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