With the opioid epidemic raging right now, hospitals are even more cautious of anything that could be considered abuse. You need to protect yourself and your license so I have some tips to not only keep from endangering your license, but maybe help you avoid criminal charges as well.
1. Do not take controlled substances. If you are asked for a drug test, many facilities will excuse a positive result if you have a prescription. But the Board is concerned about nurses working with controlled substances in their systems. Even if you took something in your off time. Whatever you do, do not take someone else’s prescription even if you are out or have taken that medication before. This is called diversion.
2. Make sure when you take a medication out of the Pyxis that you administer it right away followed by scanning and documenting that the drug was given. Facilities are very leery about lag time between the withdrawal of the medication and its administration. You should not be carrying narcotics in your pockets for any length of time.
3. Be prompt at wasting medications. Again, do not carry any medications in your pocket for any long period of time while trying to find someone to verify your wasting. Make sure that the witness to the wasting actually sees you waste the medication and then immediately signs that the medication was properly wasted. Facilities also do not want to see lag time between the administration of a medicine and witnessing its wasting.
4. If you have an emergency drug kit, make sure that there are policies and procedures in place to count the medication so that if any medication comes up missing, there will be no question that it can be accounted for during that shift.
5. Don’t be the outlier. This means that if you give more narcotics than anyone else, that raises a red flag. There is software in the Pyxis that shows each time a nurse accessed the Pyxis.
There are a lot of time-consuming policies and procedures in place that seem to make your job harder. The truth is that the policies do make it harder but they also protect you. When you do things properly according to the policies and procedures, you can better protect your license. If you are in a position where the proper policies are not carried out, don’t just settle