That Medication Cabinet is Secure… Or Secure-ish

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I was on a long flight the other day and I watched an episode of the ABC comedy Black-ish. In episode 3 of the first season, the mother of the family, named Rainbow (her parents were hippies), is trying to impress her young daughter by showing her what it's like to be an anesthesiologist.

The girl, Dee, is very smart and the mom thinks she's the only hope in the family for following in her footsteps as a doctor, compared to her siblings. The girl, to her dismay, wants to work in advertising, like her father.

So, they go to the hospital.

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Rainbow enthusiastically shows her daughter the workstation where she sits and helps keep people alive during surgery.

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Dee is not impressed and still thinks her dad's job is way cooler.

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After a hospital cafeteria lunch (also not impressive to Dee), the Dr. Mom shows her the medication cabinet, that's full of “powerful and dangerous narcotics.” And mom proudly points out that she has the only key.

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Dee, with a bored look on her face, reaches out and pulls open a drawer, which causes the mom to panic and quickly shut it.

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“Oh my God! How long has this been like this???,” screams the physician.

She said sadly, “They're going to take my key from me.”

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Later in the episode, Dee observes the chaos of the emergency department, including a number of traumas coming through, with a lot of blood.

Dee NOW sees what's great about being a doctor.

She later excitedly tells her mom why she wants to be a physician. It was “awesome” and “sweet” to see all of the crazy things that happened.

Dee: “Sometimes people die. And it could be the doctor's fault. But no one can say for sure. Right? Right?”

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Rainbow: “Technically that is true.”

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Dee: “I definitely want to be a doctor. Definitely!”

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The mom looks appalled.

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Funny stuff. But, yikes. Everybody check your cabinets… and check your processes.

It's more likely that you have empty hand sanitizer dispensers than unlocked medication cabinets.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. His latest book has been released as an "in-progress" book, titled Measures of Success.

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