A patient with osteosarcoma states her pain is 9/10. The physician writes the following order before leaving to see another patient: MSO4, 4 mg IV, one dose STAT for breakthrough pain. What should the nurse do next?

Call the physician to clarify the order.


•The nurse should call the physician.

•MSO4, MgSO4, and MS are all on the Joint Commission's official "Do Not Use" abbreviation list. They can be easily confused with one another and are not acceptable abbreviations.

•The requirement is that the physician write out "morphine sulfate." The physician needs to clarify and make a new order.

•Other unapproved abbreviations include IU for international units, u for a unit, QD and QOD or any version of it, and trailing zeros or lack of leading zeros.

Incorrect options:

•Do not ask the change nurse to confirm the medication order. Remember: As the nurse responsible for giving the drug, it is your license on the line. If you want to ask an authority, call the pharmacist who would be able to confirm that this is an unapproved abbreviation.

•The nurse should not prepare to give Morphine Sulfate until the order is clarified and rewritten due to the possibility of confusion.

•Assessing and documenting the patient's vital signs should be done regularly, but addressing the patient's pain by clarifying the order is the priority. Once the medication is given, the respiratory rate and other vitals should be monitored.

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