Published Jan 21, 2004
Hi! I'm new to chat rooms. Please be patient. My question is this: If a surgeon has his own private circulator and the or director wants the circulator to accept the narcotic keys when an emergency case comes in for that surgeon, can a private nurse legally accept that responsibility? Sorry to run on.
Thanks for any help.
If I were the privately-employed circulator, I wouldn't accept the keys. I assume that this nurse has not been oriented to the hospital unit, and therefore should not be expected to accept duties and responsibilities such as this, just as s/he wouldn't be expected to be in charge, answer to code or trauma calls, schedule cases, etc. Nor should hospital administration be willing to hand over narc keys to a non-employee. If there is no other hospital-employed RN available on the unit, then the keys should be signed over to the house supervisor.
Dear Jolie, Thank you for that reply. I agree totally. They only want the private circulator to take the keys so the oncall or nurse won't have to come in.
That's what I figured. As usual, administration is interested only in saving a few bucks, not in protecting the staff or patients legally. Please, do not misunderstand me, I have no doubt that this private circulator is highly skilled, competent and trustworthy. But it blows my mind that the hospital would sooner hand over narcotic keys to to a non-employee than pay a few hours of overtime to have a member of their own staff in control of them. No wonder healthcare is in such a mess!
purplemania, BSN, RN
The keys belong to the hospital and should be managed only by hospital employees. This could result in serious legal consequences for all if abuse or other risks occur. I bet the Risk Manager for that hospital is not aware of the practice.
Hi! I spoke with my friend. She worked late and the on call nurse brought her the narc keys and expected her to take them even after she refused. I talked her into her surgeon and he agreed that she should not be expected to take them. I also told her to request a copy of the hospital's policy on private duty nurses. They haven't produced it yet. I'll pass your comments on to her. Thank you for your input.
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