For a nurse to administer drugs at a hospital or healthcare facility, that nurse must have a valid physician’s order. But what happens if that facility has an unwritten, common practice of allowing nurses to give patients drugs as needed, without a doctor’s authorization? According to claims from an ex-nurse at a Lansing, Michigan-based hospital, someone could be scapegoated if caught — and that nurse says that scapegoat is him.
Despite his 2016 termination, and a 2017 settlement with the hospital, the nurse has faced a 2018 investigation from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). He also was required to complete a drug intervention stint that he says was never necessary, and although he still holds a nursing license, he believes it has been unfairly sullied.
For license healthcare providers such as nurses who administer drugs to patients, this is an unfortunate reminder that dispensing medication without a valid physician’s order is illegal. We at Chapman Law Group have worked with nurses and other licensed healthcare professionals who have been reprimanded, sanctioned, or had their license suspended for such actions.
Yet, hospitals as well as small- to mid-sized medical practices also need to be aware that they should not have unwritten procedures and policies that go against state law. These can lead to regulatory sanctions and lawsuits, and the exposure is high.