ADVICE, P.R.N.: Too vague for words

January 2005 
Volume 35  Number 1
Pages 12 - 12
  PDF Version Available!


  • Figure. No caption a...

    Following a cardiac catheterization procedure, a patient returned to the unit with an I.V. infusion. The order read, “nitro gtt @ 30 mg/hour to control blood pressure.” How should I interpret this order? —B.R., KAN.

    Figure. No caption available. You shouldn't. Instead, you should immediately call the prescriber to clarify and correct this vague and erroneous order. First of all, never accept an abbreviation for a drug name. Assuming the drug is nitroglycerin, it's administered in micrograms per minute, not milligrams per hour.

    Besides the full drug name, route, dose, and infusion rate, the order should include the infusion concentration (such as 50 mg in 250 ml of 0.9% sodium chloride) and blood pressure goals. Never accept an order like this without clarification.

    Nursing2005 will seek professional advice on any reasonable question connected with nursing. Send queries to ...

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