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Nurse, can I have some tylenol for my headache?

Posted Jul 01 2010 6:53pm

Alternative title to the post: how to wait an hour or more to get medication in the hospital.

Let's say that you (the patient) are requesting some tylenol for a headache. Assuming that tylenol is not already ordered by your physician, the nurse needs to make a phone call to your doctor to get that order. She then needs to write it in the order sheet of your chart. Then she faxes that order to the pharmacy. Since tylenol is hardly considered a stat order, the pharmacy takes their sweet time entering it into the "system" so the nurse can get the medication for you.

In the meanwhile, the pharmacy can't enter the medication into the system until the nurse has entered your height, weight and allergies into the computer. Only once that is done, can pharmacy enter the blessed tylenol.

Then the pharmacist/assistant does their thing and enters the tylenol into their computer system, which is then entered into the medication dispensing system on the nursing unit.

By this time, it's probably close to an hour since you've asked for that tylenol. Oh, your aching head!

The nurse can finally withdraw the medication from the medicine dispensing unit (commonly called Pyxis) and give you the pill(s).

Oh, but wait! Now she needs to log into the medication administration system at your bedside. She scans your bracelet, and now must make sure that the medication is entered correctly in THAT computer system. She needs to verify it and sign electronically that it is correct.

You get your pill(s) now, right? Nope.

Next, she scans the barcode on the pill(s), making sure that the pill(s) match the order. She also asks you to state your name and date of birth to confirm that you are who you are.


Yeah! Now you can have your tylenol for your headache, an hour or more after you requested it.

Welcome to hospital bureaucracy.

Welcome to my world.

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