Dealing with mistakes

  1. So I'm feeling a bit down about my new job and worried I'm about to get fired. At first, I liked this job a lot and thought it was going to work out well. However, it seems like I keep messing up and I feel like a failure. Nothing related to resident care thankfully, for the most part I feel like I've been pretty good about keeping them clean, safe, and dry, and even going the extra mile for them, giving them a thorough bed bath and lotioning them from head to toe, making them up all pretty for the day, etc. No, the thing I keep messing up is the LAUNDRY. Both of my major mistakes so far have involved doing the laundry, it's starting to make me feel like there's something seriously wrong with me if I can't even get a simple thing like washing laundry right.

    I'd posted about my previous mistake w/ the laundry before, but last night I made another careless one. I was doing the guy's laundry, and put the sweater he'd been wearing in with it and thought nothing of it. Later, after I'd gotten home from working all night, was exhausted and trying to get some sleep, my supervisor calls me up to yell at me. Apparently, the sweater I put in was made completely of wool and had gotten destroyed when I washed in hot water. I honestly didn't even know that hot water would destroy wool, and didn't even think of it. It may seem like common knowledge to some people, and like, I may do my own laundry at home, but the vast majority of my laundry is plain material with no wool or other special fabrics. So the guy's nice expensive sweater was completely ruined, and I felt *horrible* about it. The supervisor is upset and trying to decide what to do about it -- I don't know if that will involve taking disciplinary action against me, or what. I'm just worried sick now that they'll decide I'm more trouble than I'm worth if I keep screwing up the laundry, and let me go. Like, if they can't even trust me to do a simple thing like laundry correctly, how can they trust me to care for vulnerable people? I just don't know.

    I keep beating myself up over every mistake I make. I feel devastated when I don't measure up to my expectations for myself. I always try to give every job my 110%, to be a model employee and go the extra mile to do a really outstanding job. For me, it's not enough just doing the bare minimum to get things done; I want to be more than that. And yet, it just feels like I'm constantly falling short no matter how hard I try. I just don't get it. I work my butt off and think that I've done a good job only to later find out there was one thing I missed or screwed up. I'm sure it also doesn't help that I suffer from clinical depression and am taking medication for it, albeit only for a month now (I've heard it sometimes takes longer to kick in.)
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    About TurtleCat

    Joined: Nov '11; Posts: 155; Likes: 58
    CNA; from US
    Specialty: Geriatrics


  3. by   CrunchRN
    I could have easily made that same mistake. They didn't teach laundry at my nursing school. I think it is ridiculous for you to do it and for them to get bent out of shape.
  4. by   mvm2
    I am so sorry... Was so happy for you when you were able to get this job, and how happy you have been. All the advise I'd give you is offer to replace the sweater. things do happen though. Just the other day I was doing laundry for my client, and somehow his sheet had a big rip in it when I went to fold it. So something got caught and it was distroyed. it does not mean you are a bad care giver, but just be more aware of the residents laundry. Read the tags if you are not sure how to take care of them.
  5. by   stewartfamily2010
    It was a simple mistake. You weren't trained to do laundry. I'm surprised they have the cna's doing it at all. Most places have specific people who do nothing but laundry. I think you need to give yourself more credit. Your boss is a jerk for calling you up at home to yell at you about this. It could have waited until your next shift. See if they can deduct the money for a new sweater from your next check or if you can purchase one for the resident.
  6. by   908margarita
    I was a cna a couple years ago and i have nothing to do with laundry ever, i do not know what state you working on but laundry should be done by laundry employees. I have ever wash anything made by wool, so do not be so hard on yourself, they should train you for that if they expect you to do the laundry.
  7. by   lovinlife11
    I would have made the same mistake, I'm not very domestic but I am an awesome nurse! Don't beat yourself up, if that's the worst you have done, you're doing quite well. Wool sweaters can be replaced, poor patient care cannot.
  8. by   JDZ344
    I would have made the same mistake. Were you ever trained in how to do laundry? If not, then replacing it isn't really your responsibility, but the facilities. However, you can offer if you like.
  9. by   olioxenfree
    Don't beat yourself up. I would suggest to your boss that each patient (or their family) write up laundry notes to be kept in room stating if/which items require special laundering. It should not be your job to "guess" which items can/cannot be laundered or which items the patient wants or doesn't want laundered. A well ran establishment would have systems in place to prevent things like this from happening.
  10. by   MommaTy
    Do you work at a LTC facility? If you do, in Massachusetts we (CNA) don't do their laundry. Only time you do is when you are home health aid. So now you know your weak spot laundry (which is better than anything else IMHO) so when doing the laundry really focus on it when doing it so you know you won't mess up again. Good luck. In our facility they either have our laundry personnel do it or have their family come take it. If you don't know read the tags on the clothes.
  11. by   TurtleCat
    Thanks for your advice everybody. My main concern is that I just don't wind up being fired over this. I'm just real worried because I know there's some other girls they were having problems with and are talking about replacing, and I hope I'm not on the list now too. :x But I guess what's done is done, and I just have to take precautions to make sure this doesn't happen again in the future. Pay attention to the tags and be extra cautious. Whenever I make mistakes, it makes me work extra hard to prove myself and not let the same thing happen again. But I'd really hate to lose this job, because I love the residents and taking care of them. And also because it's right by my house, which makes it real convenient.

    I should add that this place is a bit different from the typical LTC facility. It's a small group home with only 3 residents, so that's why I'm doing the laundry and they don't have a specific department for it. Usually one person works a shift and you do a bit of everything -- CNA work, plus housekeeping, passing meds, making the meals, etc. Kind of closer to home health than working in an LTC facility, in that respect.
  12. by   CrunchRN
    Maybe proactively suggest some actions that would prevent a problem like this in the future? I think that may impress them positively.
  13. by   1feistymama
    That seems pretty trivial and certainly not something to lose your job over. I agree with the response about suggesting something proactive. For example....ask if this client (or either of the others) have any other specific concerns where laundry is concerned? I for one, never buy anything that has to be dry-cleaned nor do I buy anything made of wool so even at 35, with a family of my own, I would have washed the sweater without a second thought. By asking if anyone in the house has laundry concerns, you're asking if they have anything that requires dry-cleaning, any silk that needs to be on a gentle cycle, etc.

    While you're at is, does anyone have allergies to frangrances (a lot of people can't have fabric softener or laundry detergent with perfumes). Maybe one client wants the softener and another doesn't.

    Ask about diet preferences/requirements, too. I assume, since you're doing laundry, you're likely doing the cooking as well? Meals are a large form of entertainment. It would be nice to be able to add variety while still following their preferences and requirements.

    Make yourself a check-list that can be a quick reminder and post it in the house.

    I have lists in my house. The kids have chore charts. The days of the week go across the top and the chores down the left and they check the box for that day and task as it's complete. I am a monthly grocery shopper so I taped a clear sheet protector to the inside of one of the cabinet doors. I put a paper in the sleeve that contains the month's menu. As we go through the month, we use a dry-erase marker to mark off the day.

    You could do something similar, with management's approval of course. Eventually, you'll remember these things without your lists, but particularly in the beginning, lists could be helpful.

    Best of luck to you!!