4.2 TELEPHONE/VERBAL ORDERS
Safety is the overriding principle in accepting
verbal or telephone orders. Verbal and telephone orders have a higher
potential for errors as these orders can be misheard, misinterpreted and
- Verbal and telephone orders may be accepted by a
registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, respiratory therapist,
or a pharmacist when it is impossible or impractical for the
authorized prescriber to write them. Authorized prescriber
refers to those health professionals authorized by their health
profession act to give verbal orders (i.e. physicians, nurse
- Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) (see criteria in
Formulary policy 5.1) may accept orders for medications for assigned
stable patients (i.e. adult populations whose outcomes are
predictable) in designated patient care units for medications
administered by the enteral, percutaneous, intramuscular and
subcutaneous routes (excluding intravenous and intrathecal routes).
- Respiratory therapists may accept orders for
medications which they are approved to administer as per Formulary
policy 5.1 and as per their professional practice guidelines.
- Verbal and telephone orders for chemotherapy drugs
are not acceptable. Pharmacists may take a telephone order for any
required adjustments to the written order or to initiate the
compounding of a chemotherapy preparation.
- Generic drug names should be used when drug orders
- Abbreviations should be avoided when an order is
given or received.
- Medication Reconciliation Order forms cannot be
completed as a telephone order.
- The authorized prescriber identifies self, specifies the
patient's name, and communicates the order.
- The receiver:
- documents the order immediately on the
prescriber order form including the date, time, authorized
prescriber's name and pager number/service, receiver's name, status, and
- repeats the order back to the authorized
- patient name
- drug name and spelling of the drug to avoid
an error due to sound alike drugs
- dosage, pronouncing it in single digits
(e.g. 15 mg should be read as one five)
- frequency (e.g. three times daily, not TID)
- requests the indication for the medication to
assist in avoiding errors.
- questions the authorized prescriber if there is any
uncertainty regarding the order.
- The authorized presriber must countersign the order within 24
hours (or as soon as possible) after communicating the order.
Updated August 9, 2012