Penny Simpson Brooke JD, MS, APRN

August 2012 
Volume 42  Number 8
Pages 14 - 14
  PDF Version Available!

When I started my shift, I noted that the night nurse going off duty had documented giving an oral medication to one of my patients. But when I went to assess this patient, I found the medication still sitting in a medication cup at the bedside. The patient said she was waiting to take it with breakfast. When I asked her to take it while I watched, she did-but then I didn't know what to document, given that administration of the drug had already been documented. How should I have handled this?-L.L., CALIF.This is an example of poor practice on many levels. First, medications should never be left at a patient's bedside. Second, medication administration should never be documented in advance-the nurse administering the drug should watch the patient take it and then document. And third, you couldn't have known for certain whether the untaken medication was the same one the night nurse documented or one left over from another time. You shouldn't have asked the patient to take it without calling

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