As a nurse, you are in a unique position to appreciate the benefits of prescription medications. You see firsthand how they can help your patients and how important they can be for someone’s longevity or quality of life.
If your doctor prescribes you medication like muscle relaxants or pain management medication, you will likely treat those prescriptions with the respect they deserve. However, even if you don’t misuse them, your prescription drugs could have an impact on your job.
Medications can affect your cognition and focus
With some medicines, it’s easy to see how they could cause issues for a nurse. Opioid painkillers might lead to someone falling asleep at the nurse’s station and missing the notifications from equipment that someone has coded. Other medications might affect their decision-making, their memory or their ability to focus while administering treatment to a patient.
As a nurse, you may not be able to do your job while under the influence of certain medications. Your employment contract may already require that you notify your employer if you have to start taking certain medications. Even if it doesn’t, telling your supervisor and co-workers about a medicine that could affect your job performance is important. That way, they can redistribute job responsibilities based on the impact of the medications.
If you don’t take those steps and you make a mistake because of a prescription medication side effect, you could face serious professional consequences. Your employer, co-workers or patients might report you for any mistakes you’ve made on the job.
Identifying issues that would put your nursing license at risk can help you make better choices on the job and properly respond to disciplinary action that could cost you your nursing license.