A nurse working in ICU has a client on a propofol (Diprivan) drip while on the mechanical ventilator. The nurse needs another bottle, which must be picked up in person in the hospital pharmacy. Which is the correct action by the nurse concerning this medication?

  • ask the unit secretary to go to the pharmacy and pick it up
  • send the unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) to pick it up since the nurse is busy
  • ask the client’s health care provider to bring it when he or she rounds on the client
  • ask another nurse to watch the clients while the nurse goes to the pharmacy to get the medication
Number 4 is correct.
Propofol is an anesthetic agent and therefore a controlled substance. Most hospitals require licensed nurses to pick up controlled substances. Asking the unit secretary or the UAP to pick up propofol is outside their scope of practice. The health care provider is not responsible for picking up medications from the hospital pharmacy. The nurse should ask another nurse to look after her clients while she runs the errand to the pharmacy. Before leaving the unit, the nurse should give report to the nurse who will watch the clients, as this is important for client safety.