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Crushing pills and ethics

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Q. I am RN of 6 yrs, My job is now requiring all nurses to crush and open all capsules. They is no standing order just a memo in a memo book. A recent Psych MD that was taking over for our normal MD, stated that we are setting these patients up for toxic levels and doing damage to their throats and stomach. Our DON, can around and had us sign a piece of paper stating we would comply with this or be terminated unless we provided proof that these capsules shouldn’t be opened and pills be crushed. I told her when i signed I was going to get that information be cause she is dead wrong. Please advise me.

Crushing pills and ethics

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I would advise you to take this matter to the hospital director or someone else within your facility that serves in an upper management position. If you feel that crushing pills is harmful for patients, does not make sense to you or is potentially hurtful to your job (i.e. following these orders may later get you into trouble), then it is incumbent upon you to take action. I would encourage you to make inquiries into this matter, especially if you are not comfortable with what you are being asked to do or you do not understand why the order was issued. You need to protect the welfare of patients as well as protect yourself and your rights. This is a medical issue. If improper medical procedures are being followed then the hospital is guilty of malpractice. Your DON has a superior. She is being supervised by medical doctors at some level. They need to be aware of the policy she advocates. You can’t set medical policy but you can make those who do aware of what is happening at the nursing level. I hope this advice helps you. Take care.

Crushing pills and ethics

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Crushing pills and ethics. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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