November 2004, Volume 34 Number 11 , p 13 - 13
© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(11) November 2004 p 13 Giving patients the slip [ADVICE, P.R.N.: OTC PRODUCTS]
As a recent graduate, I'm having trouble reconciling what I was taught in nursing school with a questionable practice I've witnessed on the job. A veteran nurse I work with sometimes “slips” her patients antacids, pain relievers, laxatives, and other over-the-counter (OTC) preparations without an order. When I asked her about this, she said she'd seen too many patients experience prolonged headaches, indigestion, constipation, and so on while waiting for a physician to order a simple remedy. What should I do? —J.P., MICH.
Stick to your guns. Legally, a nurse can't give patients unordered, unrecorded medications, OTC or not. Diagnosing illness and prescribing medication is beyond the scope of your colleague's ...