Made a mistake last night.

  1. I work as a tech on an orthopedic unit of a hospital. I am also working on pre-reqs for nursing school. Last night I had 15 demanding patients to take care of (the other tech scheduled had called in sick). I had nasty nurses barking orders at me, three incontinent patients, call lights ringing, people wanting to be taken to the bathroom....you know the scenario. No report was given when I came onto the floor. I accidently gave apple juice to an NPO (who was also on contact precautions). I had given him a quarter cup before I saw the sign on the door. I told the nurse and received a verbal lashing...she also made sure that as a pre-nursing student I realized what a huge mistake this was. She then proceeded to tell me that the poor guy was on a feeding tube, has diabetes and aspriation pneumonia and is a DNR. I am so upset. There is no excuse for giving an NPO a drink. I take full responsibility for that. But, I got no report from her when I came onto the floor. I work very hard and I love my patients. I enjoy them and their families. I take extra time and give extra attention to my dementia patients who are ignored on my unit. I am a good person and would never knowingly hurt someone.

    I plan to speak to the unit manager today about what happened. I am so upset. Any advise?
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   Plagueis
    I'm not a tech, but as a CNA, I understand how stressful the job can be. However, we cannot assume that someone isn't NPO, or can drink regular fluids. At the LTC where I work, us CNAs have to read the careplan, where it explains each resident's diet. We are expected to know and follow this plan, even though we may be short-staffed, or the night is hectic. We never get this information in the shift report, unless it's a new admit, and I never heard of posting this info on a patient's door. You can explain to your unit manager what happened, and say that you didn't get report, but you could still be held responsible. At least you admitted your error, you are remorseful, and I'm sure you'll never do this again.
  4. by   Beary-nice
    I truely believe that you wouldn't intentionally harm someone. It seems to me that everyone was on the edge with the busy shift and short hands. If anything you have a lesson learned and that is to double check if someone can have something by mouth. I am sorry you had such a bad shift and hang in there. Keep your appt with your manager. That person needs to know what happened.
  5. by   txspadequeenRN
    You live and learn. Everyone makes mistakes and it especially gets hard to sort thing out when you are under added pressure. Next time go to the nurse (if she dont come to you first) yourself and get a quick run down on the patients. Communication is necessary between the nurse and tech or you are bound to have errors. You cant do eveything by yourself and must pace yourself to get the most important things done when there is staffing issues. Good luck to you...
  6. by   jb2u
    This is one of the problems with being short staffed....mistakes are bound to happen. This is also a problem with answering call lights from pts that are not assigned to you. Whenever I answer a call light from someone else's pt and they ask for something to drink, I always find their nurse and ask if "so-and-so" can have a drink. Also, if they ask to be taking to the restroom, I will find/call the nurse to see if they have BRP or need a bedpan. You can NOT always go by what the pt tells you. They will say "yeah, I can walk!" Next thing you know, you will be picking them up off the floor. Try to remember to always get a GOOD report first. I get report from the off-going CNA as well as the on-coming Nurse. Some may say overkill, but I can't tell you how many times I did not receive an accurate report from the CNA and then was told by the Nurse that "that pt is NPO." Always, always, always cover yourself! Don't let this one mishap discourage you. Life is about learning. Learn from this mistake and grow. Good luck with your job and school.

    Sincerely,
    Jay
  7. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    As an RN who worked as a tech on an ortho floor during nursing school, I did the same thing. Felt horrible, got a huge guilt trip from all the nurses who clucked about what a horrible nurse I was gonna be if I couldn't even get THIS right. Never mind that I had 22 patients and no nurses were at the station for me to doublecheck with. I felt like crap. Especially since they had to delay the man's surgery because of me. The nurses made sure they told the MD that I was the one, and encouraged him to chew me out in person because I needed to know the consequences of my actions if I was going to be a nurse. Of course, he obliged.

    You know what? It has NEVER happened again. I learned a valuable lesson, took that out of the experience and ignored the young-eaters. I'd advise you to do the same thing. Sounds like you were understaffed and overwhelmed. Just learn from it, and let it go!!!
  8. by   ejmonroe
    Thank you to all who responded. I appreciate the support.
  9. by   suzy253
    I've done this before as well and certainly learned from it. Please don't be too hard on yourself though. Plus it is even more difficult with no other support. One of the first things I do when I go on the floor now is print out the diet sheet for all patients and refer to it all the time.
    chin up!!!
  10. by   chadash
    Every morning before work, I just pray I don't hurt anyone today! And the mistakes I have made, I really really learn from....
    No one is infallible, and when we are working as barely trained techs in stressful understaffed circumstances, these things can happen. Ultimately, I believe that the responsibility falls on the facility for creating an environment primed for crisis....
    I am a PIA, I know, but I hunt down my nurses and ask them before I give anyone anything, if I cant find out any other way. I am sure they just love it
    If I could list the close calls, the mistakes and mishapS~ Oh dear! Live and learn, cause most things well learned do sting a bit.
  11. by   dauschundlover
    First of all in the scheme of mistakes this is a very small one. We are not perfect. That's the main reason they call it practicing medicine. You'll make a great nurse but your going to go crazy if you allow a mistake like this to plague you. Let's talk big mistakes taking out the wrong kidney, amputating the wrong limb, hanging blood on the wrong patient. All of us have made mistakes and don't let anyone fool a good shift is when all your patients are alive when you leave and any mistake you make didn't kill anyone. Sorry if others don't agree but that is what 25 years of nursing has taught me.enguin:
  12. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from ejmonroe
    I work as a tech on an orthopedic unit of a hospital. I am also working on pre-reqs for nursing school. Last night I had 15 demanding patients to take care of (the other tech scheduled had called in sick). I had nasty nurses barking orders at me, three incontinent patients, call lights ringing, people wanting to be taken to the bathroom....you know the scenario. No report was given when I came onto the floor. I accidently gave apple juice to an NPO (who was also on contact precautions). I had given him a quarter cup before I saw the sign on the door. I told the nurse and received a verbal lashing...she also made sure that as a pre-nursing student I realized what a huge mistake this was. She then proceeded to tell me that the poor guy was on a feeding tube, has diabetes and aspriation pneumonia and is a DNR. I am so upset. There is no excuse for giving an NPO a drink. I take full responsibility for that. But, I got no report from her when I came onto the floor. I work very hard and I love my patients. I enjoy them and their families. I take extra time and give extra attention to my dementia patients who are ignored on my unit. I am a good person and would never knowingly hurt someone.

    I plan to speak to the unit manager today about what happened. I am so upset. Any advise?
    I'd apologize for my error (heck, nurses make mistakes, too), and then say that I did not receive a report for that shift. It is a nursing responsibility for all nursing personnel to receive a shift to shift report. Just to let you know, my hospital doesn't include CNAs in our nursing reports and as a nurse, I think it is wrong. You can look at this as a prelude to nursing...you'll be more careful when you are medicating as well as other nuiances that nurses do. Good luck. You do sound like you really care about your job.
  13. by   ann945n
    I know how terrible it must seem now, we have all made mistakes and it wont be the last. You should be thankful that you have the integrity to admit to your superior that you made a mistake and you are looking out for the pts best interseted. You will be a wonderful nurse someday, take it as a lesson learned!
  14. by   valifay
    Don't be too hard on yourself. Things like that happen more often than you think. You should suggest to your boss that if someone is NPO, to have all fluids and cups (or thermo's) and food items removed from there room when NPO status begins. I'm sure you feel bad now, but I know you will never make that mistake again!

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