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Locked out of the med cart

February 2, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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On New Year's Day, things were edgy around here. Voices were definitely louder. It sounded as if most of the residents and staff had stayed up to ring in 2015. Even though I was fast asleep at midnight, I watched what was going on with interest.

After breakfast, my nurse Tina* and an afternoon-shift nurse working dayshift, LeeAnn*, were passing medications. Because many residents were grumpy, I let them go ahead of me while I waited to get my meds.

LeeAnn was almost finished with her med pass. She had not wasted any time. When the nurses pass medicine, they unlock the cart, get meds out, unlock the narc drawer, get narcotics out, lock the cart and then take the medicine to a resident. A few minutes, later they repeat the process. I would think they would get tired of locking and unlocking the med cart.

LeeAnn came back to her cart, unlocked it and started to unlock the narc drawer. Instead of the key unlocking the drawer, it just spun around in the lock. In my almost 19 years of living in nursing homes, I have never seen that happen. The only times I have seen a nurse locked out of the med cart was because of a misplaced key. LeeAnn tried the key again and again with no luck.

I asked Tina what they do if the key does not unlock the narcotics drawer. She said they call the pharmacy and someone is sent over to get into the cart and repair the lock.

LeeAnn was still trying to get into the narc drawer. "I only have to give medicine to one more resident," she said.

Determined, she started pushing on the lid of the drawer. It looked as if the lid would break. She pushed the lid sideways slightly and it popped off the hinge—mission accomplished. She was able to get her last resident his medicine.

Soon after, the pharmacy representative came and repaired the narcotics drawer lid and the lock.



Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...