A nurse from the dialysis unit floats to the med-surg floor. He is doing afternoon rounds and medication administration. He brings a client her oral medications, but the client states, “What is this? Where is my yellow pill? This big white one is not mine.” The best action from the nurse is to

  • take the medication out of the room and verify with the MAR and pharmacy.
  • explain to the client this is the correct prescribed medication she is ordered.
  • report to the nursing supervisor there has been a medication error.
  • explain to the client that sometimes medication comes from other manufacturers and the pills may look different.
Number 1 is correct.
Many clients recognize their daily medications, and the nurse should be concerned if the client states the medication is different from what she usually takes. The nurse should not administer the medication until he verifies the order. There may indeed have been a medication error, so the nurse should not tell the client the medication is correct. The nurse should not report that there has been a medication error before verifying with the MAR and pharmacy, because there may not be an error at all. While it may be helpful to explain to the client that medications can vary in appearance even if they are the same substance, in this situation the nurse should verify the medication before making any assumptions.