I was recently speaking to a nurse about an incident that occurred at her hospital. A nurse that was changing shifts asked another nurse to do her discharge teaching and administer a medication for her as she was busy. This is a frequent thing that is seen amongst many different facilities. The covering nurse administered a medication to the patient and he had an adverse reaction to it, because it was the incorrect dose. It is a scary thought to think that this could happen to any of our families staying in a hospital or as a healthcare professional that it could happen to us.
In speaking with the nurse she proceeded to tell me that the nurse at her hospital was too busy to attend to her own patient to do the discharge planning. She could have taken the patient herself and done a proper discharge planning and allow the new nurse coming on to take care of another patient, but instead she gave the nurse coming on shift her discharge. I would hope that in this day and age a nurse would not administer a medication or explain a medication that she is not familiar with. In talking with the nurse, I felt that the covering nurse should have verified the medication if she had a doubt about it as that is her license on the line.
The covering nurse needed to be more information seeking and applying standards of care. Regardless if the other nurse was busy, it is up to the covering nurse if she accepted the assignment to fulfill it correctly. This means she needs to be able to follow the standards of care in that unit (Rubenfeld & Schaeffer, 2014).
Rubenfeld, M. G., & Scheffer, B. (2014). Critical Thinking Tactics for Nursing Achieving the IOM Competencies (3rd ed.). [P2BS-11]. http://dx.doi.org/