Who may witness medication waste

by ERRNDubai ERRNDubai (New) New

What are the rules regarding having someone witness wasting if controlled substances? I thought it has to be a medically licensed person but my employer is saying it can be anyone, including the patient. Obviously it is a paper log and not a pyxis. I can't find a law citing the anwer online. Anyone know? Thanks!


3,571 Posts

At my facility, with limited exception, all waste must be witnessed by a licensed nurse, pharmacist, or physician.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,296 Posts

I don't know if it's a law so much as a facility policy.



337 Posts

Get your facility policy in writing and follow that.


6,319 Posts

There's no way in hades I would involve non-licensed personnel or patients/family members, etc. in confirming my appropriate handling of controlled substances. For all practical purposes that's about as good as having no witness at all.



570 Posts

Though this does raise questions in my mind about facilities that only have one liscensed person on a floor. I'm thinking night shift long term care. I wonder what they do?

As an above poster stated though I think its policy not law.



101 Posts

Re: Night shift long term care, we lock up the waste and waste with the person we count narcs with who is taking over in the AM where I worked



336 Posts

Depends on your employer policy. Where I work, it has to be another RN for both omnicell/pyxis chariting, paper narc log charting or EPIC charting. Actually, I'd have to check the written policy...it may very well be another licensed professional, but I can't ever see wasting with pharmacists or doctors.

Agree that I would never let a patient observe their own waste. That's ridiculous.

Would definitely get your employer policy in writing cause if or when the shoe drops, watch how that ambiguous policy changes.



Has 7 years experience. 1 Post

I currently work in a drug and alcohol treatment facility. Here the director of operations INSISTS narcotics be destroyed with him and a nurse. He is not a licensed nurse. Everywhere else I have worked it has always been 2 nurses. If he wants me to witness narcotic destruction with him should I insist on another nurse? Is it a violation?

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience. 142 Articles; 9,974 Posts

When I worked in assisted living, I was the only nurse in the building, so I wasted controlled substances with the Executive Director. There was nothing in our policy and procedures that forbade it, and my state is pretty liberal with regulations so we did it and thought nothing of it. Otherwise I would have had to wait three months for the corporate nurse to visit, and the narcotics  would have taken over the med carts if we couldn’t waste when orders were discontinued or a resident died.