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Stealing meds?

FLMaryRN FLMaryRN (New) New


I am fairly new to nursing, and I'm not sure what to do if anything. Someone I went to school with is nurse at a different work place. I have heard she and family state she steals insulin from her workplace so she doesn't to buy her own. She also has had addiction problems in past. No evidence of stealing narcotics though. I have wondered if her employer is suspicious as they changed her work schedule suddenly, and skipped her weekend rotation.

Do I just stay quiet? I hate to make trouble, but also hate someone stealing.


You "heard" she claims to steal insulin? At a work place other than your own?

Unless she has told you this herself, you should stay out of it and not take part in potentially ruining someone's reputation over what is currently unsubstantiated rumor/gossip.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

What are you going to report exactly? A rumor you heard? Stay out of it.

Thanks for comment. I guess I wasn't clear- I have heard her say that's how she gets insulin. I won't say anything since I haven't seen it, but I have heard it.

Thanks for comment. I guess I wasn't clear- I have heard her say that's how she gets insulin. I won't say anything since I haven't seen it, but I have heard it.

Since you heard her say that she is stealing the insulin, ask her if a bottle of insulin is worth the loss of her job, disciplinary action against her license and difficulty gaining future employment.

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

Thanks for comment. I guess I wasn't clear- I have heard her say that's how she gets insulin. I won't say anything since I haven't seen it, but I have heard it.

Personally, I would find a way to call her facility's legal compliance department (aka risk management) and report your observations. Hopefully said facility exists in the here and now and has an anonymous report mechanism.

I definitely would not say anything to her personally since (a) that would likely have zero effect; and (b) you would be outing yourself as one who might have lodged the complaint.

By opening her mouth to you, sounds as if your friend either has a secret wish to get caught and got you involved as the potential "bad guy", or she has some sick reason to be bragging about her behavior. Have seen lots of nurses brag about what they get away with, as if they are better than others because they flaunt the rules or the law. I would not play into her drama. It could backfire on you in some way.

If you did not witness the theft yourself keep your mouth closed and stop associating with this person, you can be tainted by association. What she's doing is a felony, even if it is "only" insulin. Do not speak of this and deny knowing anything about it. Do differently and you could find yourself being very closely scrutinized.

I used to occasionally take the Ventolin inhalers left behind by people who had been discharged because my two adult children needed them and never had money for extras (they had valid prescriptions). Of course it was wrong to do but our healthcare in this country makes people have to make very difficult choices everyday. The difference is no one knew I ever did it and I spoke about it to no one. Only my children knew and they knew to never speak of it.

It is not right to report someone on the basis of gossip, you need to actually see the theft or have another valid reason to suspect it.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

What type of workplace is this?

I worked in nursing homes on and off for six years. When a physician discontinued any drug, it would be removed from the medication cart, placed in a box or bin in the med room, and basically sit there along with piles of other discontinued meds until retrieved for destruction. The process could take days or weeks.

Since the medications would inevitably be destroyed, some nurses took certain maintenance meds home to relatives or friends who needed them instead of letting perfectly good Proventil inhalers and Norvasc go to waste.

Yes...I know it was illegal for them to do this. However, when one's uninsured diabetic uncle has run out of his insulin and Diovan, and there's some insulin and Diovan sitting in the D/C bin, the temptation to sneak the meds home looms.

imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

Telling you she's stealing meds, has made you an accomplice. Even hearing her say it has made you an accomplice.

The way I see it is, silence is consent.

Straight No Chaser, ASN, LPN

Specializes in Sub-Acute. Has 5 years experience.

You don't work with her and you have no proof, so I'd say that's that.

Apple-Core, ASN, BSN, RN

Has 2 years experience.

Say nothing unless you literally witness it. Thieves invariable will get found out one way or another. I worked in retail management for several years, and most of our theft was from employees...they always got caught.

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

If she does it in front of your own eyeballs, report it.

If not, don't. And don't spread gossip about other people - if you're wrong about this, it has huge consequences and you would not want someone doing the same to you.