The nurse is entering several orders that the health care provider has just ordered for a new admission. One of the medication orders is illegible. Which action by the nurse is correct?

  • ask another nurse to transcribe the order
  • call the prescribing physician for clarification
  • scan the order to the pharmacy and let the pharmacy staff decipher it
  • figure it out based on the client’s diagnosis and home medications
Number 2 is correct.
The nurse should always call for clarification. Asking another nurse to transcribe the order may still result in a medication error. While most medication orders are scanned to the pharmacy in facilities using computerized medication systems, the nurse should still know which medications the client is receiving. The pharmacy may also misread the order, so the nurse should return to the source for clarification. The nurse should not attempt to guess at the medication based on the client’s diagnosis or home medications, because this may also be incorrect. The nurse has a duty to clarify any unclear orders with the health care provider who wrote the orders.