A client has been admitted to the oncology unit and has a large amount of cash, several credit cards, and several pieces of expensive-looking gold jewelry in her possession. Which action by the nurse is most appropriate?

  • tell the client to hide everything in her purse or a bag and put it in the closet
  • offer to take her belongings to the charge nurse’s office where they can be locked up
  • suggest that the client put her valuables in a sock and place it in the bottom of the bedside table under some clothing
  • inform the client of the hospital policy regarding valuables and suggest that she give them to a trusted family member or to security for safekeeping
Number 4 is correct.
Most hospitals provide security to lock up client’s valuables, along with a receipt or form for identification for claiming the items. All items placed in security must be documented on the admission form and signed. The facility is not responsible for valuables left in the room by clients, and the nurse should be sure that the client is aware of this policy and understands it. Options 1 and 3 still leave the valuables subject to theft. Locking them up in the charge nurse’s office is not an appropriate option, as this places the charge nurse in a position of responsibility. Many hospital admissions are unplanned, and the best advice the nurse can give a new client is to send home anything of value.