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A nurse is transcribing physician orders for a patient who was admitted overnight. The nurse reads the following order: "16 u insulin glargine to be given by subcutaneuous injection once daily at 0800 hours." What is the nurse's next action?

Explanation

  • The nurse should call the physician to have the order rewritten. The use of "u" for unit is the Joint Commission's official list of "Do Not Use" abbreviations. "u" could be mistaken for 4, O, or cc.
  • Other unapproved abbreviations include IU, QD and QOD or any version of it, trailing zeros or lack of leading zeros, MS (can mean magnesium sulfate or morphine sulfate), MSO4 and MgSO4 (which are easily confused for one another).

Incorrect options:

  • Another nurse is not needed to read and sign off as a witness when transcribing a medication order.
  • Although insulin glargine (Lantus) is often given at night, it has a 24 hour action time and may be given at any time of day as long as it is the same time each day. The administration time does not need to be clarified. If the nurse questioned this, they should consult a medication book or the pharmacists before calling the physician.
  • The nurse should not administer the insulin glargine (Lantus) until a valid order has been given. The physician needs to rewrite the order.

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