5 rights of patient medication administration, when you're self medicating

Nurses Humor


Stupid OTC medication errors I have done to myself.

1) I took my dogs rimadyl tablet.

2) Half the time when I have a minor headache and "think" to take some acetaminophen, 20 minutes later I think, "Did I take some acetaminophen or did I just think about taking some?"

3) I have OTC eye drops for itchy eyes, allergy relief. Have had them for over a year. I was complaining that I could only take them once a day yet my eyes would itch throughout the day. So I finally re-read the instructions....take 2 drops 4 times a day!

4) A nurse friend with twin boys who were getting ear and eye drops. Yep, you guessed it, put the ear drops in their eyes!

5) Not a medication, but I had transferred some shampoo and hair gel to different bottles. Got them mixed up. Three times in a row I was putting shampoo in my hair and blow drying it, thinking I was putting in hair gel!

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

I have put ear drops in my kid's eyes, diaper rash ointment on lacerations, and tried to glue a laceration back together with insect sting anesthetic. All three things have a similar container to what I was intending to use...I got two of the five rights...the kids lived...no incident reports.

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

Years ago, I got my wisdom teeth removed 1 at a time -- over 4 appointments. After the first one, the oral surgeon handled me the bottle of pain meds and (I swear) said "Take 1 every 4 hours." So, that's what I did.

The med worked great, but it wore off before it was time to take the next pill and I would be in agony for almost an hour before I could take the next pill. I am not exaggerating -- agony.

For tooth #2, he ordered the same med. But this time, I read the label. "Take every 3 hours as needed for pain relief."


1) I took my dogs rimadyl tablet.


Did it help?

Did it help?

Yes, but I started barking at the mail carrier! Side effect I guess?

Back when I was a relatively new nurse I OD'd myself on cold medication. This was before the whole meth craze thing and all the meds were on the same shelf at the drug store. I got a quick lesson on how dangerous OTC meds can be when taken incorrectly.

I was working 6-7 12 hour shift a week and I was REALLY tired. I was also starting to get a really BAD cold. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like absolute crap. Without making note of the time I took two Actifed tablets and went back to sleep. I have no idea if it was hours or minutes before the alarm rang to wake me up for my shift. I was hacking like crazy and still felt like crap so I poured a dose of DayQuil, took a shower, and drove to work. I still felt disgusting and was coughing up a lung when I got to the parking lot. This was all happening on a major lack of sleep and my not bothering to read the DayQuil bottle or note the time that I took the Actifed. Well, I absentmindedly popped a 12 hour sudafed pill and off to work I went.

Well, within 30 minutes I wasn't feeling too great. I was sweating but it was freezing, I was nauseated but unable to throw up (which would have helped to get rid of some of what I took), my heart rate was irregular and in the 160's, and to top it off at that moment I was told that I was to orient an agency nurse for the shift. Great, I'm sure I left a lasting impression on this one. I did tell my charge nurse that I goofed up with my meds on myself and that I was feeling like crap and I let the agency nurse know too so that she wouldn't think that I seemed strung out on meth every day I worked. I had crappy insurance at the time and couldn't afford and ER bill so I braved it out until 11 AM when I knew most of the first two meds would be working their way out of my system. I was right. I felt much better after 11 AM and I will NEVER, EVER, mix cold meds again without reading what is in each on of them first and waiting the correct amount of time between doses. Hindsight being 20/20 I cannot believe I worked and didn't go to the ER, it could have been bad. I learned that OTC meds are very far from harmless that day.

Specializes in Hematology-oncology.

I've pulled rarely used meds out of the first aid drawer in the bathroom, took a dose, wondered why it wasn't working well....and then realized the expiration date was 2005. :/

I've pulled rarely used meds out of the first aid drawer in the bathroom, took a dose, wondered why it wasn't working well....and then realized the expiration date was 2005. :/

I found ipecac in my mother's medicine cabinet in the bathroom that used to belong to me and my little brother growing up when looking for a thermometer. It expired back in the 90's . I'm glad we won't be using it.

Specializes in Public Health, TB.

I have poor eye sight,(when uncorrected) but was too lazy to don my glasses for middle of the night eye drops. I put Debrox in my eye, ow, ow, ow!

Specializes in Medsurg/ICU, Mental Health, Home Health.

When I was 20 and a tech, I took my grandmother's Metoprolol instead of Advil then worked in the PACU all day. (Whhhhy do old ladies keep their pills all in one bottle sometimes - still, should have known that it wasn't stinking ADVIL!)

Specializes in Public Health, TB.

Not myself, but my son was recovering from a back injury and left his prescription Motrin at home. At my advice, I suggested he run to the drug store on his break and get some over the counter. he was barely able to finish his shift. Turns out he got and took 2 Motrin PM.

Specializes in Public Health, TB.

I had a small tumor removed from my finger under a local. The surgeon prescribed Tylenol #4. That seemed unusually strong to me, so I took 1/2 tablet as the local was wearing off. This was on Halloween, so the kids and I go off to trick or treat around the neighborhood. I was nearly in tears before we got home.

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