What is the worst mistake you've made as a nurse?

  1. 0
    I'm a first year RN, working my first ever nursing job in a Pediatric ER. I have about 9 months on the job. Last night I made a huge mistake and I feel incredibly stupid and incomptent. I had a patient who was Status Asthmaticus and I had to go vitals every 15 mintues. Q15 min it's R/ HR/ O2% and every hour I would add a blood pressure. I must have been so busy that I didn't realize I documented my pts BP as "90/30" w/ a HR of "133", which means my pt would have been in COMPENSATORY SHOCK. Of course, the MD realized and let me know. The pt was actually around 100/50, the monitor was just acting up. I have no idea why this BP slipped passed me. Obviously, I know that is not an okay BP for a 12 year old girl. In the end, this didn't end up being so big of a deal bc I could change it on the computer, but I feel so low. This isn't the first time at my job that I've felt like a complete idiot. Sometimes I don't even feel compentent enough for this job. I feel like part of this is due to the fact that my orientation wasn't very good. I was never really assigned a preceptor and have pretty much had to figure things out on my own as they come. Add that the fact that this is my FIRST job in an extremely busy ER. Anyway, I was wondering if any older nurses could make me feel any better. Did anyone else feel like a complete dud their first year? Any horrible mistakes that you now look back at and laugh? Or am I completely downgrading this whole situation?

  2. 9 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Please don't be so hard on yourself. In the big scheme of things, this wasn't catastrophic. You obviously are bothered by it and my guess is you will be more mindful of normal ranges of vs for the different ages. That is what is important here.
    Peds ED can be a tough place to start out as a new grad.
    I become more concerned about the nurse who doesn't see the seriousness of high HR and low BP, ya know?
    Hang in there. 9 months is still pretty new. You will be fine!
    MassED likes this.
  4. 4
    I graduated from nursing school on a Friday and went to work the following Monday as a GN at a pediatric ER. I realized I didn't learn a darn thing about real life nursing care in nursing school. You'll gain your knowlege, your confidence, and your competence on the job. That environment, especially a pediatric ER, will develop your nursing abilities, problem solving skills, interpersonal communication skills, and nursing confidence that you'll carry forward for the rest of your nursing career. We've all done dumb stuff. Be patient with yourself.
    BoyNamedSue, icuRNmaggie, MassED, and 1 other like this.
  5. 4
    I'm sorry but that is not "a huge mistake"
    Wolfe24, icuRNmaggie, Christy1019, and 1 other like this.
  6. 10
    I'll bite. When I was a baby nurse... So proud of my iv piggy I hung.. Counted those darn drips just like we learned..

    Except I didn't have the tubing set up properly and wouldn't ya know, as soon as my pt moved their arm, my 60 min iv atb infused in eh, 5 minutes..
    Esme12, SlinkyheadRN, uRNmyway, and 7 others like this.
  7. 3
    Quote from Sassy5d
    I'll bite. When I was a baby nurse... So proud of my iv piggy I hung.. Counted those darn drips just like we learned..

    Except I didn't have the tubing set up properly and wouldn't ya know, as soon as my pt moved their arm, my 60 min iv atb infused in eh, 5 minutes..
    Yip. Def done that one.
    SlinkyheadRN, icuRNmaggie, and MassED like this.
  8. 1
    That is how we learn. The doctor is there to oversee and brought this to your attention. These are the times you will add to your memory and retrieve for future use. It'll be ok.
    icuRNmaggie likes this.
  9. 2
    Don't beat yourself up. This will just make you more aware in the future!
    icuRNmaggie and MassED like this.
  10. 4
    We have all made errors.

    to be temporarily mortified is normal, but then we figure out what we did wrong, learn from it, move on, and resolve not to let something like that again.
    justsmile&nod, icuRNmaggie, MassED, and 1 other like this.
  11. 1
    At least 2-3 times I've spiked a bag, hung it, plugged it into the pump (or not if it was just a one liter bolus) and then NOT hooked it up to the patient only to return later and find a patient asking about the puddle and or wet sheets. One of these instances was an antibiotic, well I just pulled a new Rocephin and hung a new bag. Oh and my one liter bolus was a hypotensive patient (like 90's/40's), fortunately I discovered this less than 10 mins after hanging it. Did anyone die? No not even close.

    You WILL make mistakes, even big ones, plenty in a long career, you're human not machine. What's important is that you learn from them.

    Oh also don't tattletale, several times I've caught med errors committed by my fellow nurses one of them even kinda a big deal. I wouldn't run to management unless I saw a pattern or if someone died as a result. That nurse will probably be mortified when you point our their mistake anyway.
    Last edit by paramedic-RN on Sep 5 : Reason: typo
    emtb2rn likes this.


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