Who Carries The Drug Keys At Your Work Location?


Recently, in The Lamp, In the ‘Ask Judith’ column, there was a very controversial topic. An EN asked, if she was allowed to carry the Drug Keys for the Ward.

Of course, Judith provided the correct legal position in her response. However, sometimes, many ENs & AINS are placed in a position at their workplace, where they are commiting an offence against The NSW Poisons & Therapeutic Goods Act, 1966.

If one looks up the Act, there is much detail, describing the different circumstances that may occur in a hospital or nursing home environment. It can be quite easy to misinterpret such legal jargon.

So, at your workplace, what types of situations have YOU been placed in, and felt uncomfortable with management’s instructions? Have you ever felt, that you were asked to do something ILLEGAL?

What about AINs giving out things like S4d pain medication.; or the nocte sedatives?

According to the Act, the definition of a ‘nurse’ is a person who is a ‘registered nurse’.

We can all learn something new about this very important topic, by hearing from our colleagues here, on this Forum. Maybe, what happens at YOUR workplace is actually illegal! It will be very interesting to hear what others have to say…

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  1. Just as a follow on – anybody got anything to say about their Nursing Home employer giving an excuse as to why the AINs are able to give out the drugs?

    One story I know of, is that the Hostel ( low care ) has an open door between the High Care section & the Low Care section. So the employer thinks they only need the single RN for the whole facility – day & night !!

    The Hostel AIN gives out all the medications except the S8s. This is still technically illegal, as the AIN has the S4d drug keys. According the the Act, this is illegal.

    But you just can’t tell these large employer organisations anything. We have to bring the NSWNA into put the case for us.

    If this is happening at your workplace, let your Union ( NSWNA ) Delegate or Secretary / President know, and start the process off to correct these situations. Vicarious liability will only cover so much. This is one of those situations where the employer could lay the blame on YOU…… and then where will you be ??



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