An RN notices an LPN in the medication room drawing up morphine. The RN asks the LPN who it is for. The LPN states that one of her clients needs pain medication. The RN offers to administer the dose, but the LPN says, “It’s ok. I can give it. I’ve had this client for several days and she is stable.” Which is the correct response by the nurse?

  • “Let me double-check the dose with you.”
  • “OK, but let me know if you need help with anything.”
  • “I am going to report this to the charge nurse immediately.”
  • “You shouldn’t do that. Let me chart it while you give it to save time.”
Number 3 is correct.
In most states, LPNs are not permitted to administer IV medications such as morphine. The nurse must immediately report this to the charge nurse and nursing supervisor. The LPN is acting outside the scope of practice and is at risk of losing her license. This is especially concerning because the LPN states that she has done this before. Offering to double-check the dose does not negate the fact that the LPN is still violating the law by administering the medication. Offering to help the LPN is not a constructive way to handle the situation. The nurse should not offer to chart it while the LPN administers it because this still violates the LPN’s scope of practice. Additionally, this places the RN in the position of knowingly aiding the LPN in violating the state nursing practice law. The RN is required by law to report any instances in which another nurse is breaking the law or practicing nursing in a manner that could cause harm to the client.