Pairing in a hospital

I’ve had the unfortunate situation where I broke my elbow and shoulder and ended up in hospital.
Due to the nature of the injuries, I was given fairly significant doses of morphine and pethadine (both pain killers). What I was really interested to observe was that nurses all work in pairs. When giving drugs to patients, one of the nurses takes the role of the driver and checks the name tag on my wrist (and asks me my name if I’m awake), looks up the UR number (presumably a patient number) and the other nurse will compare that number and name to the information that they have on a worksheet for the time, type and amount of drugs that I could have.
Now, maybe the hospital that I was at (Epworth) was a better hospital than many, but it was certainly interesting to watch them do exactly the same sorts of things that I do when pair coding.


5 thoughts on “Pairing in a hospital

  1. There are many benefits in pairing in this sort of environment. Indeed we see many instances of ‘pairing’ in and around ‘risky’ areas of everyday life.
    In a medical sense these have the following benefits.
    1. making sure they don’t give too much (or too little), ie quality of work.
    2. making sure they actually give it (and not take it home), so if there is some theft, it is a conspiracy (twice as hard to pull off).
    3. a witness to all actions.
    4. someone can go and get help if something goes wrong without leaving the patient alone.
    Outside of a hospital there are also strict regulations for the handling of such drugs which have ‘pairing’ aspects. 2 people sign a register etc.
    I used to work in a bank and there were many pair procedures that applied in situations where large amounts of money were involved (especially cash).

  2. Huh!? Man you must have been out of it!
    Two nurses and all you can think of is pair-programming!
    Maybe this is a well-timed break for you.

  3. It’s certainly not just Epworth. I saw the same process at Frances Perry, when my wife and new born son where patients there.

  4. It is not just the Epworth it is in fact every private or public hospital in Australia. It is the law, any drug of addiction needs to be double checked out of a safe with the time and pt’s name recorded in a special book and then it has to be double checked again at the pt’s bedside. I also have concerns that you claim you where on 2 narcotics at the same time. It is also not just Aust. that this is practice, I have worked as a nurse in 3 contries and it is all the same. I am know a team leader at yes the Epworth and if any of my staff did not double check all the medications that require double checking there would be a word or two said and they would need to attend a medication course or be supervised until deemed safe.

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