Taking home empty vials


I may know the answer to this but would still like to ask it :p

What is your facility policy with regards taking home empty vials?

I mean, now that I am reading it, it sounds stupid, but just curious because maybe I am just an artist at heart. I would like to collect multiple vials (single-use vials) just for my personal art project.

I know in nursing school how some instructors would show use empty vials of medications from their work just for students to see. I don't even know how they go those things.

I have seen fellow students bring home an empty and cleaned out med vials for post-conference.


20 Posts

I think that would be considered stealing

Editorial Team / Admin

Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 35 years experience.

I would suggest asking the facility and see what they say

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

It's trash- it would not be stealing! However, just to make sure everyone is on board, why don't you ask pharmacy to save them for you? That way , they are certified empty and it's on the up-and-up.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

1 Article; 4,094 Posts

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

I think many facilities would have a problem with this in the era of barcode scanning. If you possess an empty vial, it's easy to scan a med as given that you never gave.

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

I remember years ago, a colleague made glass vial pendant necklaces and stethscope charms from the used vials.

Specializes in LTC.

I've see some really cool vial cap art.

Has 6 years experience.

Facilities have an obligation to dispose of the sharps (glass vials) appropriately and responsibly. Sending them home with an employee to be used for art projects probably wouldn't be allowed in most cases, but I guess it doesn't hurt to ask.

Has 33 years experience.

An "empty " vial can still contain a small amount of the medication. The policy is to dispose of vials in the sharps container.

No art project is worth the risk of breaking policy. I would NEVER bring home a vial.. or even ASK if it was permissible.


389 Posts

Specializes in ICU, trauma.

i make some pretty awesome vial cap art, but have never taken home the actual vial


828 Posts

An empty vial is trash but I would run it by my supervisor first. I would never however take any vial of an empty controlled substance home, no good can ever come from doing that.

Specializes in Ambulatory Care-Family Medicine. Has 12 years experience.

Run it by your supervisor first. Mine doesn't care if I take home empty or expired items.