A nurse ate me as her young and I'm still paying for it

  1. I have been working agency LPN (new grad) through RN school. I have had the pleasure to work on a wonderful unit for the last six months that loves me and wants me to work there when I graduate. The charge nurse even went to far as to walk my resume down to HR.
    I was giving report to the next nurse and she knew the patient was on Heparin protocol b/c he was on a drip. I didn't know he was on hep protocol. It was not on the MAR or the Kardex. The heparin order was on the MAR, which I was following. But nothing about an actual protocol was there. She knew b/c she had recieved the info in her orientation there, which, with agency, I don't get. Not that that is an excuse. I just thought he was on a heparin drip b/c he was post-cardiac surgery. Not to mention, as an LPN, I'm not even supposed to touch heparin drips and should have tried to give the patient to an RN( even though they never actually take pt's from me--which is another story).
    She completely flipped on me. I took it with a smile in silence and fixed my mistake by checking the protocol sheet against the PTT. No changes needed to be made per protocol. The patient was recieving the correct amount of heparin. The patient was safe. I understand she was worried he wouldn't have been. But I honestly didn't even think the hospital HAD a hep protocol. Potassium I know and use appropriatly. And what if she were right?? I could have killed someone! I'm seriously freaked.
    She ended up tearing me a new one. I acted professionally and expained that I was unaware of the protocol but will always be aware now.
    Found out this am when I was supposed to go in, she complained about me and got me on the "black list" of the hospital. I can't work there anymore. I am so shocked that this honest mistake has erased 6 months of hard, mistake-free, work. I got along with everyone on this unit. They even wanted me to play for their softball team. I am so angry!
    Does anyone understand this?? Does one mistake mean I am such a failure as a nurse that I can't even get another shift to prove myself again?? My confidence is shot and I'm about to grad RN school and start a new grad program.I feel like I don't even want to work b/c I might screw something up. Any suggestions--aside from hunting that old stale nurse down and beating her with a rubber hose!
    Last edit by RNnewgrad on Sep 2, '06
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   gitterbug
    You need to speak to the HN, explain honestly and fairly what took place,
    remind the HN you are a new grad, not having had a orientation, and yes,
    you should know that when heparin is given IV a protocol is generally in place. Even in sub-q administration a protocol is followed where I have worked, but being an LPN, new grad nurse, and attempting to preform all
    the duties you are assigned, it slipped throught the cracks. Do keep the fact that the patient needed not change in the gtt. The patient suffered no injury, and you learned a valuable lesson. If they still want you on the black list, then make sure you write an account and have it placed in you file for further reference.
    I am sorry this happened, but you did learn from this mistake. Perhaps, if in talking to the HN, you will be given a second chance. We all need to be treated with some understanding and compassion when we are new and just learning. Hopefully you will be shown some kindness and allowed to continue to work on this unit. I would be very careful of this nurse who reported you, she will always be looking for any small mistake you might make.
  4. by   weetziebat
    Quote from RNnewgrad
    Any suggestions--aside from hunting that old stale nurse down and beating her with a rubber hose!
    :yeahthat:
  5. by   RebeccaJeanRN
    I'd like to make an analogy to new nursing with terrorism (curious now?)...and here's why: A terrorist only has to be right ONE time. In the meantime, we have to foil plots over and over again year round, 100% of the time, while they wait for that one chance. Nurses on the other hand, have to be right year round, 100% of the time, and are screwed if they make a single mistake. Life is NOT fair. Nobody can be right 100% of the time. Therefore it is important for management to use the mistakes that do not harm anyone, to teach & reinforce and help prevent a mistake that does. To reduce someone to wanting to leave, because of a single error that hurt nobody, is not effective. IF, however, you have been known to be careless and make frequent mistakes, then one more would be a sufficient reason to really get out the big guns. It doesn't sound like you have been that kind of nurse. I'm even wondering if there is some kind of jealousy because you are finishing your RN and this person wants to put (or keep?) you in your place? I'm not trying to minimize your error, but with all things considered, this seemed a disproportionate response. (anyone else??)
  6. by   Beary-nice
    I am sorry that you had to go through this but there is a huge lesson to be learned and hopefully you are on the right track to realizing that. I have had to learn in the last 17 years of being a LPN the hard way at times just like you described, and it stinks, I agree...but, the bottom line is patient safety is a huge issue. No drug is benign. If you are not allowed to touch the heparin, then who was responsible for your heparin on this patient?? That still however does not relieve you of being aware of all of the meds your patient is on and what you need to be looking for...protocol or no protocol, orientation or no orientation. This one mistake is not going to marr your whole nursing career, but it is gonna make you think and from what I see, I think it has. And I do understand what you mean, I hope you can understand what I mean. Good luck in the future and hang in there.
  7. by   Tweety
    Maybe there is someone you can talk to clear this up. Can't your Agency go to bat for you and explain your side of the story, or perhaps they are so keen in keeping a client they are willing to sacrifice you there. I have worked with Agency nurses who have made mistakes, as we all do, and not been banned. Staff and hospitals do tend to be a bit more harsh on Agency nurses which isn't fair.

    I don't think this is about nurses eating their young. This troll would have ate you regardless of your experience.

    Of course, you could be a poster child, of why it's important to not work agency fresh out of school. Critical thinking and experience might have lead you to question the heparin drip just there dripping.
    Last edit by Tweety on Sep 2, '06
  8. by   Beary-nice
    Quote from Tweety
    I don't think this is about nurses eating their young. This troll would have ate you regardless of your experience.

    Of course, you could be a poster child, of why it's important to not work agency fresh out of school. Critical thinking and experience might have lead you to question the heparin drip just there dripping.

    Completely agree....her "flipping out" was unecessary and those types are out there...believe me...I've been bitten more than once...

    Agree also with the last point Tweety made....so use this experience to be on the up and up next time around.
  9. by   UM Review RN
    I've found lots of mistakes by other nurses regarding heparin. There's a whole protocol that we have to follow, and what's even trickier is that the protocol is different for different diagnoses.

    So it's a shame that you got such a witch and not someone like me, who's way more interested in fixing things and teaching, rather than nailing you to the wall over something like this. Especially because the patient was not harmed.

    Take my word for it, I've seen some scary things happen with heparin. But I've never chewed anyone a new one for not knowing. The protocol can be complex and a little confusing to a newbie.

    I also think you need to try to talk to someone to try to clear up any problem. I hope that they realize what a valuable nurse you are, that you made sure that no harm came to the patient, and that you owned up to the mistake. But as Tweety said, not having had orientation and your basic inexperience were big factors in this error.
  10. by   PANurseRN1
    Any suggestions--aside from hunting that old stale nurse down and beating her with a rubber hose!
    Yes. First, stop referring to experienced nurses as "old, stale nurses." That old, stale nurse may have been out of line to chew you out, but not knowing about the heparin protocol was very serious.

    Second, take responsibility. Don't make this about being unfairly treated. You did not know something crucial re: your patient. It's your responsibility to know, regardless of whether you work for the hospital as an employee or are there as agency.

    I am so tired of new nurses immediately yelling "A nurse ate me!" when they make a mistake and are called to account for it.
  11. by   PANurseRN1
    This is an excellent case in point why new nurses should not be allowed to work agency.
  12. by   Corvette Guy
    I see several issues that you could consider, ASAP. First, have no further discussion of this incident with the RN that complained about you... at least not w/o a witness. Second, talk to the Charge RN [that thinks highly of you] to give your side of the situation. BTW, I don't understand why in the shift report you were not told this patient was on a hep gtt protocol? Anyway, as soon as you realized the patient was on a hep gtt protocol you took the appropriate actions and so happened to find out all was good. Since no harm came to the patient this turned out to be a good learning experience. So, don't go tripping out on self-doubt, or stay PO'd at yourself... drive on!

    Last, are sure you want to do agency work as a new grad LPN & while going to RN school?

    Hang tough & Good luck!
  13. by   HappyNurse2005
    Did you get a change of shift report from off going nurse? Did that nurse tell you the pt was on a heparin drip, when next PTT was due, etc?

    ah, well, live and learn, right? no harm was done.
  14. by   RNnewgrad
    Quote from Corvette Guy
    I see several issues that you could consider, ASAP. First, have no further discussion of this incident with the RN that complained about you... at least not w/o a witness. Second, talk to the Charge RN [that thinks highly of you] to give your side of the situation. BTW, I don't understand why in the shift report you were not told this patient was on a hep gtt protocol? Anyway, as soon as you realized the patient was on a hep gtt protocol you took the appropriate actions and so happened to find out all was good. Since no harm came to the patient this turned out to be a good learning experience. So, don't go tripping out on self-doubt, or stay PO'd at yourself... drive on!

    Last, are sure you want to do agency work as a new grad LPN & while going to RN school?

    Hang tough & Good luck!
    Thanks! Actually, I have decided to chill out on agency a bit. It is hard to not have the stability of guaranteed shifts. That, and the fact that I don't want to mess up again. I will make many more mistakes in my career, I'm sure. but I would rather have the weeks of training usually given to nurses on a unit.

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