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What should the penalty be for an RN signing out a non-narcotic drug under a patient’s name for personal use?

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Dear Donna,

What should the penalty be for an RN signing out a non-narcotic drug under a patient’s name for personal use?

Wondering About Penalties

Dear Wondering About Penalties,

Every facility should have a written policy and procedure that governs responses to a case of known or suspected drug diversion. Typically, the case will be investigated internally and action taken. There is no standard penalty and various factors are taken into consideration. Each case is individually evaluated and ruled on. The employer may then report the diversion to the state board of nursing. If that is done, the board will investigate and make their own determination.

I would advise the nurse to contact a nurse attorney. The nurse is still entitled to have his/her rights protected and needs someone for advice and support through this process. Find a nurse attorney by asking around or by getting a referral through your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) and/or the American Association of Nurse Attorneys (www.taana.org). Nurses are able to contact each organization whether or not she/he is a member.

Best wishes,
Donna

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About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.

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