Nurses must now wear reflective belts

NORFOLK, VAHospital administrators want to crack down on medication errors and they are willing to go to any length to do it.  New studies show that many medication errors occur as nurses check out medications at the Pyxis machine and subsequently as they walk to deliver the medication to the patient.  Root-cause analysis of these errors have demonstrated that human factors such as being distracted are potential causes of these medication errors.

In order to help combat distractions, a new policy just approved by the hospital board will mandate all nurses to wear reflective yellow safety belts while checking out medications at the Pyxis machine.

Nurses must now wear reflective belts
“Shh, don’t bother me”

“During the check out process and delivery of the medication, wearing the yellow safety belt is now mandatory and no one should approach or talk to that individual.  Once the medication has been given to the patient and charted twice, the belt can come off and talking can resume,” said hospital administrators.

Administrators went on, “Nurses wearing the belt should not engage in any conversation and others should not engage nurses wearing the belt including visitors and patients.”

“Are you kidding me!” was the overwhelming response from several nurses.

“You really expect me to wear some yellow reflective belt, like I’m in the Army running at 05 dark 30.  Hell no!” emphatically spewed ICU nurse Robert Stanley.  “They can shove their reflective belts up you know what.”

Some nurses are taking a very different approach.  Emily Richard, an ER nurse, loves the new idea and is using the reflective belts for another reason. “Yeah, so when I don’t want anybody to talk to me or to tell me what to do, I just wear the belt around the ED all shift.  Works like a charm!”  If someone asks her for help with a lab draw or a new IV bag, she just motions towards her safety belt and puts her hands in the air just like she doesn’t care.

Administrators thought the belts sounded like a great idea in theory, but it may have fallen short, just like the idea to make pain the 5th vital sign.  Family members and patients now interrupt nurses even more to inquire about why they are wearing the belt.

“The belt is so comical,” said Allison Meadows, a medicine ward nurse.  “It does absolutely nothing except create more conversations… about the damn belt.  Why don’t they give us fewer patients per nurse, put less emphasis on bringing turkey sandwiches to patients for patient satisfaction scores, and increase our salaries.  That’s how you really cut down on medication errors!”



  • Show Comments

  • david the pharmacist

    This is a wonderful idea!!!!!!!!! No doubt it came from the office of overeducated, overpaid, over self important and under worked.

  • Charles r

    This would be funny if it wasn’t true. At least on the medical ward at General Leonard Wood Army hospital they do this exact thing. They call it “The Med Zone”

  • Jade Hopkins

    I actually would like a belt that would stop people from interrupting me… if it works on family members?

  • Crys Lily

    Ummm my hospital almost did this. I was in the meeting where a disturbingly similar idea was brought up!

  • somegeye

    Waaa…we hate change….

  • Becky Boyce

    Does this mean the Good Idea Fairy has retired from uniform to work civi hospital admin? Cuz if so, I might be persuaded to reenlist. ;)

  • janet Byers

    Unrealistic what about the telephone nurses carry in their pockets? Doctors returning phone calls or family members needing to talk to the nurse will not understand why the nurse is not answering her phone. I post my number in the patients room so they can call me directly. This saves time and avoids calling the desk clerk who then has to call me. Admisistrate something else please. J

  • Robert Benner

    the last sentence said it all less patient load more help per shift if not nurses then bring back the orderlies to help out one for one coverage

  • Michael Lawrence

    You are absolutely right….I was thinking much the same thing. The nurse that does this is not someone that I would want to work with…. I have worked with this kind of nurse….they don’t want to be bothered to help others, but are the first to complain when others are busy and can not help them. Eventually, nobody wants to work with that kind of nurse.

  • Michael Lawrence

    The biggest thing that I have seen or worked with that made a huge difference in medication errors was a bar code scanning system. Each patient ID band has a bar code on it that represents their patient number, each medication has a bar code also. The patient ID band is scanned and only the medications that are available to be given at that time will be accepted by the scanner. If a wrong medication is scanned or the correct medication is scanned but for the wrong time, a warning message appears. This was part of the update on electronic medical record keeping mandated by Obamacare…..I guess the VA is behind on that…. The reflective belt is a dumb idea.

  • Aesop

    “and puts her hands in the air just like she doesn’t care”
    Word up!

  • Colin Nilo

    This policy has been in place for several years in the UK, it works well.

  • Colin Nilo

    This has been common practice in the UK for several years. The Nurse undertaking the meds round wears a red tabard. Works well.

  • Maggie

    Who was smoking the crack on this idiotic idea? It may trigger some admins to try it

  • Dawn M Marston

    Most hospitals will have to form a committee and have several meetings to talk the subject to death and by the time they make a decision everyone will forget what it is for, or something better will come along.

  • tiredofpc

    You wouldn’t like it so well if you were the nurse that needed her help, or, better yet, the deteriorating patient assigned to the nurse that needed her help….

  • Angela Steinmetz

    Everyone should remember the 5 R's, an additional step. Change the belt to Red and its the 6 R's. for Narcs 2 people must sign, so do 2 wear the belt?

  • Kisha N. Elder

    I need two of those!

  • Shelley Squibb-Cutler

    seriously??? It's ok but what do you do when a patient distracts you? Here you ignore a patient you've committed a major offence. Healthcare seems to have become a "blame a nurse" system. so is there a new step in ACLS protocol? finish giving med, then circ…… I think in an ideal world it would work, but healthcare has so many unpredictable s.

  • Carla Jerrel DowDell

    Stupid what about bar code scanning duh!

  • Gomerblog

    Not sure this is a 'caring' issue. Maybe pay, hours, and nurse shortages should be fixed first before slapping yellow belts on to fix the issue.

  • Gomerblog

    Wow, no clue it was actually that widespread. Time to buy stock in yellow belts and vests!

  • Bill Giers

    Nurses USED to care about patient safety. Because so many are now too ignorant (or just do not care) to not bother anyone dispensing meds… THIS IDEA MAKES SENSE. The sad part is that it became necessary to implement it.

  • Gomerblog

    Please Chart that

  • Diana Lenore Miller

    Kaiser SanFran and ?

  • Diana Lenore Miller
  • Diana Lenore Miller
  • Diana Miller
  • Trish Flood

    I can see Caitlin Flood wearing that, for the reason above, STAY AWAY FROM THE NURSE WITH THE YELLOW BELT!

  • Jessica Bell

    I am curious how they plan to enforce such a ridiculous rule…

  • Melissa Morrical Dowler

    I am appalled they picked yellow….A lot of fashion police will tell you one looks good in yellow…lol

  • Rick Hastings

    I like the Nurse’s approach of wearing it when she doesn’t want to be bothered or talked to…lol

  • April Fiel


  • Linda Bowman-Bellis

    Yes Carrie Heider Catalano then u don't have to talk to or help any else! Ha ha!

  • Wendy Whitley

    Now, you know they never do that.

  • Dianne Palmer Walker

    Can we say "delay in patient care"

  • Ashley Santos

    Hahaha I do appreciate wearing it when you don’t want anyone to talk to you! Nice!

  • Karen Bache


  • Carrie Heider Catalano

    Can I wear it the whole shift?

  • Gomerblog

    I unfortunately got this story idea from actually seeing it in place on a medicine ward. I couldn’t believe it.

  • Nick Angelis

    Those using Accudose machines will only need hard hats and safety goggles.

  • Kathie White

    What idiot thought that one up??? It won’t stop families from talking to you! I walked in to work with my purse and coat on and a family member demanded Kleenex and washrags before I got my coat off!

  • Ashley Willhoft Crowell

    Hmm theoretically sounds like a good idea.. But when u are working on the med surg floor with 5-7 pts its impossible not to be talked to when you are giving out meds as a nurse you are pulled in so many directions at once and u have to learn how to juggle

  • Megan O’Dell

    Sad thing is, I’ve worked in 2 CA hospitals where this is actually policy!!!

  • Wendy Whitley

    I know this is satire, and all…. but it could almost be true.

  • Caitlin Minihan

    I’d like to wear this all the time at work, thank you very much

  • Sherrell Williams


  • Sherrell Williams

    Just put tape over your mouth while u pull meda

  • Kristy Ross

    “Hospital administrators thought this was a good idea…” maybe they should ask someone who actually does the job first before making such ridiculous decisions.

  • Christopher Brett

    It’s true…unfortunately :/

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