I was terminated from my nursing position of 26 years after I unknowingly handed in a prescription to the hospital pharmacy for Valtrex for my daughter, which I didnt realize Zithromax 250 mg had also been written on the top of by my husband. I was called into work early in the morning, grabbed several prescriptions from off of the kitchen counter and once I got to work handed them in to the hospital pharmacy. My college-age daughter was sick and had called my husband asking to get Zithromax 250mg for her. He wrote this on an old existing prescription not thinking I would hand this into the pharmacy. My employer says this will be reported to the nursing board. I am pursing the grievance procedure. What does this mean for future employment? Can they charge me with
Dear Nancy replies:
The situation you describe is problematic for many reasons and raises questions about how all of this occurred. To begin with, it is unclear why your daughter called your husband and her father to get a prescription for Zithromax 250 mg. Is he a physician or advanced practice nurse, either of which have the authority to prescribe medications? If so, why was the medication entered on a prescription already written by another? Presumably either would have their own prescription pad. It also is hard to believe your husband thought this was an old prescription and one that would not be taken to the pharmacy. Since it was with other prescriptions presumably to be taken to the pharmacy, how would he come to that conclusion?
Additionally, one can’t help but wonder why your daughter just didn’t go to the health clinic at the college to get the medication she needed. Had she done so, the whole situation would have never happened.
Your part in all of this sounds unintentional, and it is a good thing you are grieving the termination with your employer. However, the reporting to the board raises serious issues for you unless you are able to convince them with truthful facts you were an innocent participant in all of this. It might be a good idea for you to retain a nurse attorney or another attorney who represents healthcare providers in disciplinary proceedings before their state board. In fact, the attorney may be able to help you fine tune your grievance in the hopes that if a decision rendered is favorable to you, you can utilize this favorable decision before the board of nursing as well.
Based on the information in the question, it sounds like your husband is more at risk for some kind of legal jeopardy than you are. As you are aware, prescription writing (e.g., who can prescribe, what the prescription is to include, whether the prescription must be written or oral) is controlled by both federal and state law. If your husband is not a licensed healthcare provider given the authority to prescribe medications, his conduct is questionable. Fortunately, the medication added by your husband was an antibiotic and not a controlled substance. It is unclear at this time whether his conduct may still be seen as problematic by state or federal prosecutors.