Passing meds prepared by others


Before anyone scolds me... I know this is wrong. I just got a new job at a county jail, and they use a lot of med sets (smtwtfs pill reminder boxes) . The night shift fills them, and everyone else passes them. It's scary because I don't recognize pills by their size/shape/color. I have heard the same thing about the local prison, that they pass meds prepped by other nurses. I'm just afraid that if anything ever went wrong, I would be scape-goated either as the preparer or the administering nurse.

The only reason why I am getting opinions is that I don't know if there are exceptions for correctional facilities due to the vast number of inmates who need medications within a short amount of time. Either way, I think I'm going to call and quit. I don't feel safe doing that.


2 Posts

The standard of care says you never pass meds that are prepared by others. You can lose your license over this. Why are the other nurses doing this? You all need to band together & work to change the system before something really bad happens.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

If I didn't prepare the medication, I don't administer it. End of story. ;)

Too many little white pills exist that look dangerously alike. Even with a mystical crystal ball, I could never even hope to decipher them.


149 Posts

IF you gave meds prepared by someone and this is standard pratice endorsed by the facility through policy & procedures, would there not be some sort of vicarious liabiltiy? For an act to be considered (vicarious liabilty) within the course of employment it must either be authorised or be so connected with an authorised act that it can be considered a mode, though an improper mode, of performing it. Not sure about the US systems, but I know that this would a serious consideration in the UK.

Seems to me that this is endorsed, even if there are no written procedures, through common practice. Not saying that this practice is correct but by the mere fact that the "management" hasn't changed the practice means that they are vicariously liable... doesn't it?

pagandeva2000, LPN

7,984 Posts

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I would not feel safe, either. If they are wrapped with the name of the med and dosage, I would feel more comfortable. But, like you, I do not recognize the pills very often because I work in a clinic where we hand prescriptions out most of the time. I may be great in medication teaching because I recognize the name of the drug and the side effects, but actually knowing the pill would be an issue for me. I'd probably cut out, too.

Specializes in Rural Health.

I work ER - it's not unheard of to have a sick or critical patient and everyone has their hand in the pot and someone is pulling up meds and handing off to the person doing the pushing....but we are drawing and pushing up all in the same room at the same time and if I have ANY doubt, I make them show me the bottle before I push.....It's not the most ideal situation but sometimes the only realistic situation considering.

However, I won't randomly give a med unless I know w/o a doubt what it is.

I would either work to make the changes or find a new job. It's not safe for you to routinely give meds that someone else has pulled without knowing what they are.

suzanne4, RN

26,410 Posts

Hospitals and long term care facilities have many meds that need to get passed in a short amount of time as well. You are signing your name that you administered the medication, if you do not know what it is that you are giving, how do you know that it was correct?

Never, ever administer medications that you have not opened on your own, you are the one that is legally responsible for it.

Administering of medications has the same rules no matter where they are given, rules do not change.


109 Posts

Specializes in rehab-med/surg-ICU-ER-cath lab.

Speaking of this topic our sedation IV medications are drawn up marked with pre-printed labels. The used vial is then left next to the syringe. If someone breaks you from a case, say for lunch, and the MD wants a further IV dose of medication then the next nurse is expected to use the already drawn up medication. Thoughts?


1,051 Posts

:eek: Not a nurse yet, but absolutely NOT!!!


46 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, Geri.

I would never give meds or admin. inj. I did not pull up. The only exception would be the ER.


43 Posts

Well, since you asked--

Just say NO.

And then, call your state BON.


55 Posts

OMG that's the first thing they teach us in the nursing program. I would definately either try to make changes in your workplace or get a new job. This is too dangerous.

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