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Hold a scavenger hunt to prepare for survey

Pharmacy Regulation Resource, May 18, 2005

One hospital conducted a presurvey scavenger hunt for expired medications. The hospital held a staff contest several weeks before its survey, offering a reward for the person or department that found the

  • most expired medications
  • oldest expired medications

The contest inspired staff to sweep the hospital and check remote areas.

Every clinical department submitted a sack that contained one to two dozen expired medications. The largest quantity was from the operating room, which won a pizza party for its thorough sweep. The business department unearthed the oldes expired item, which was a two-decade old book of charge codes. The department won a picture from the gift shop for its find.


  • Consider playing this in a team format. Members of the team can divide up the list for efficiency.
  • Department managers can customize a general list for their own staff.
  • Follow up with a review of the items on the list and their importance to patient safety. Managers can discuss this in a departmental setting.

This tip was excerpted from Ready, Set, Patient Safety! Questions, Games, and Other Strategies to Prepare Your Staff, by Sandra L. Patterson, RN, BSN, MS, ©2005, HCPro. For more information, contact customer service at 800/650-6787.