Totally screwed up in my clinical

  1. 0
    So I just finished up a CNA course and I had three clinical days. I was working in a nursing home and I helped a lady go back to her room and she said that she needed to go to the restroom before she got back into bed. Simple enough, right? Wrong. I managed to majorly screw up. She said that she could pull her own pants down, and it was obvious that she felt a little uncomfortable with having help so I respected her wishes and let her pull her own pants down. Unfortunately she didn't get them all the way, but I didn't notice in time. Then, as soon as she sat down I noticed a beeping. I thought I might be a pressure alert to let people know if she was getting up without help but then I noticed a box with rubber tubing and a patch that was disconnected from her back. It was a wound vac. Ugh. To make matters worse, the poor lady soiled herself and was even more embarrassed. I felt so horrible. I did the only thing I could and I transferred her back into her wheelchair so that she was safe while I got help from her nurse. I feel like a complete MORON!!! How could I mess up so many things? First of all, I had no idea what a wound vac was or that she had one. Then by "respecting her privacy" I totally tramped all over her dignity and made her feel terrible. I went home and cried for hours. I am so sorry and embarrassed that I messed up. How do I come back from this? Does everyone have these errors in the begining?
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  3. 13 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    I'm sure most people make mistakes when they first go to a nursing home for clinicals, I wouldn't be so hard on myself. Thing I don't understand is didn't you have a cna that was working along side of you? The cna who was training me never went within ear shot of me. So I think it was wrong of the facility to completely leave you alone with a patient, and also to not let you know about her wound vac.
    newcna121212 and proudcna like this.
  5. 0
    I agree with the above poster. For future reference, try to get a report about your Residents you will be helping with for the day. It takes some experience to know what to ask. Usually I ask who needs vitals, who is incontinent or continent, how many needed for a transfer, who needs to be turned, and someone should be smart enough to tell you about a wound vac. That's really messed up to just leave you to fend for yourself. When you're caring for a Resident, try to be observant. It's hard when you're busy and being called from here to there, and everywhere. Don't feel so bad! You are new! No one was born knowing everything about anything!
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    We did not have a CNA with us. I thought that we were going to but as things went along we just ended up on our own trying to help out wherever we were needed. I was very frustrated that they didn't brief us on anything. I tried to ask the CNA that gave me a list of patients to take vitals for if there was anything I needed to know and I feel like they took that as if I was reluctant to work. I encountered many surprises including a man with Parkinson's and late stage dementia that was so irritated by my presence that he threatened to hit me.
  7. 0
    It's ok... You should be fine. When I was doin my cna clinicals, one of the students fed a lady a mecahnical meal that was not even hers and that was hooked on a feeding tube. And she got away with that. Whenever you do clinicals, you should be shadowing a cna... I'm not sure what happened there...
  8. 2
    I'm surprised that you didn't have to have a CNA with you. When I did my clinicals we were allowed to do very few things by ourselves with the residents (mostly just taking vitals or pushing someone in a wheelchair back to their room) and for any transfers we needed to have either a CNA or our instructor with us. But even so, you are new at this, and people who are new at things are rarely perfect at it (even people who have been doing it for years make mistakes yet). You can't go back and change what happened, so instead take this as a learning opportunity - next time ask for a report on your resident to gain the info you need to care for him/her, if you aren't sure about something ask the CNA or inatructor, etc. I had a rather rocky start as a CNA, as well (I almost got fired from my first job within just a few months of starting it) but havibg shown that I learned from my mistakes and that, because I truly cared for the residents, I felt horrible about what had happened, I received another chance...and now the other CNAs always want me as their partner for the shift. You'll get there too, but just be willing to work hard, learn from your mistakes, and don't give up!
    marsqueen and TurtleCat like this.
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    I'm sure you will make a good cna, you just got put into a crappy situation, literally . Don't let it discourage you, your situation wasn't normal, and it wasn't your fault.
  10. 0
    Oh well, most likely the patient just needed to be cleaned up and the wound vac plugged back in, and nobody was seriously hurt.

    Really screwing up would be the person falling and hitting the floor and winding up with a fractured hip. Then you and the facility would be up a creek.

    Ive gone on EMS calls to a nursing home where things like that happened, including one where a resident was left on the toilet unattended for a short time, and wound up face down in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor with a broken nose and what turned out to be bilateral femur fractures. Im pretty sure someone got fired over that one(and the patient eventually died).

    Long story short, if you arent sure about something, ask for help. If you arent familiar with a resident, dont just take their word for it regarding what they can or cant do, ask someone who is familiar with them first or look at their chart.
  11. 0
    Meh, it's ok... I did my clinicals and some work at a nursing home, and some mistakes are expected when you're new and still learning the ropes. Worst mistake I ever had was transferring a resident wrong and he slipped out of his wheelchair and fell...thankfully he was OK and didn't have any injuries. Still, though, it made me feel horrible... it made me think just how much worse things could've been if he had seriously hurt himself. It definitely inspired me to be more cautious in the future.

    Main things to keep in mind when you're new and still in the learning process are patient safety + infection control. You want to make sure of basic things like -- keeping a patient free of infection or skin breakdown, making sure they don't have a bad fall and hurt themselves, etc. Things like speed, efficiency, doing everything properly and correctly, etc. are only going to come with practice and time. It's frustrating because you WANT to be good and able to do everything for your residents, etc. but the sad fact of the matter is, it's just not gonna happen until you're experienced and know how to do the job. I felt the same frustration when I was brand new but I just had to deal with it.

    When I did my clinicals, we had 4 days where we basically just shadowed a CNA and did little by ourselves, other than the basic, low-liability stuff like wheeling a resident and feeding. It was easy and low-stress for that reason, but also made me sort of ill-prepared for the actual job because I hadn't practiced skills on actual people that much. I had to learn most of the skills like bed-making, turning, cleaning and changing the residents, etc. on the actual job. Which made me suuuuuuuuuuuuuper awkward and slow at first, but I did feel as if I was surely but slowly getting the hang of it.
    Last edit by TurtleCat on Feb 17, '13
  12. 0
    Quote from funtimes
    Oh well, most likely the patient just needed to be cleaned up and the wound vac plugged back in, and nobody was seriously hurt.

    Really screwing up would be the person falling and hitting the floor and winding up with a fractured hip. Then you and the facility would be up a creek.

    Ive gone on EMS calls to a nursing home where things like that happened, including one where a resident was left on the toilet unattended for a short time, and wound up face down in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor with a broken nose and what turned out to be bilateral femur fractures. Im pretty sure someone got fired over that one(and the patient eventually died).

    Long story short, if you arent sure about something, ask for help. If you arent familiar with a resident, dont just take their word for it regarding what they can or cant do, ask someone who is familiar with them first or look at their chart.
    Jesus Christ, I can't imagine having a fall where the resident had breaks + fractures and died a few days later... If the CNA was anything like me, they'd feel overwhelming shame and guilt that would stay with them for a lifetime. That's why it's SO important to take into account basic precautions and safety measures, no matter how busy or overworked you are, no matter how understaffed the place is... the #1 priority is ALWAYS the resident's basic safety. You never know what could happen if a resident has a bad fall... 9 times out of 10, they might be ok and it's not THAT big a deal, but it only takes that one time for things to go seriously wrong and them to break a bone or crack their head open, and die.

    I think it's good advice to always ask for help when you need it. Other, more experienced staff are always more aware of a resident's needs and can provide help + support when you need it, especially when you are brand new to the field and struggling. At my nursing home job, it was hard asking for help sometimes because everyone would be so busy and the CNAs were often very rude to me as a newcomer. But it's better to suck it up and ask for that essential help, rather than try and do things on your own and a resident get seriously hurt as a result.


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