How do you get over your new RN boo boos (mistakes)

  1. The last two days at work where colonised with mistakes. I timed a medication wrongly, forgot to to give a med (totally did not see it in the MAR!) and forgot to label my TF. I had two though critical pairs and before the night nurse left that morning she told me "you will be busy, this is a though pair" Well she must have jinxed it for me because I was busy, to the point where I felt as though I was checking off tasks instead of actually nursing my patients.

    Anyway, since I got home I have been feeling down. I feel stupid and incompetent, although I know I am not perfect I expect more from me so it is hard to just 'learn and move on.' I want to be a competent nurse, and I know it takes time. But for how long? I guess I had a totally different expectation of myself at this point in my career (about 1.5 months off orientation), and now that reality has set in, it is hard to swallow it down. Plus, I feel like I am being evaluated and probably judged as a bad nurse for my mistakes ( I know, Im a little paranoid. But I have heard many nurses gossip and I don't want to be labeled). I have to go back in to work tomorrow and I am feeling a little insecure of my nursing abilities.

    How do you pick up from something like this? Experienced nurses, do you remember your first mistakes and how you overcame them? New nurses, are you in the same boat, are my overanalysing myself?
  2. Visit love-d-OR profile page

    About love-d-OR

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 549; Likes: 263
    Clinical Nurse- RN, pre-SRNA; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Transplant/Surgical ICU


  3. by   chicookie
    I make mistakes all the time. Not lethal ones, but when the nurses make fun of me I am always like well that is why I'm the new nurse and you guys are the preceptors. That makes them stop laughing.
    I don't feel like I am stupid or anything because before I got this job I read so many books on new nurses and the theme that was written across these books hey your new, you can't know everything at the start. I am one of those nurses though what happens at work stays at work. Once I get into my car I put my gear in a bag and forget about what happens. I listen to loud music to drown out my thoughts. I tend to be over confident and even when I feel like oh I should know better than this I always go to the bathroom take a deep breath and say you are smart, you are a nurse, over and over till the despair passes.
    We passed nursing school and boards for a reason. We CAN do this. AND we can do this without losing our sanity!
  4. by   love-d-OR
    Thanks chicookie,

    I am tend to be way to competitive and have way high expectations of myself, which in general is good but soemtimes I tend not to know when to let go and be human. I wish I could make a mistake and just drive off in my car as if nothing happened. I almost feel like if I do, I will forever give excuses for my mistakes without actually improving. I have to think about it step by step so I can recognise why I made the mistake, so I do not repeat it.

    Anyway, are you on orientation now? Hope it continues to go well for you. You have a positive attitude and thats great. As for me, I think I am sinking into the new grad blues, also known as reality is setting in!
  5. by   chicookie
    oh trust me I beat myself up pretty badly. But I force my self once I get into my car it stops. Yes I made a mistake, next time i do this but that is it. I can't beat myself up all day because then I will drag everyone around me down and I couldn't bear that. Plus when I did that in nursing school, the stress manifested itself in physical symptoms. It was not fun.
    My expectations of myself are very high, but I had great instructors that showed me my limitations. My body also showed me my limitations. LOL I think those two showed me alot and I am grateful because that prevents me from being too hard on myself. I can't worry too much it makes me sick.

    Yes I am still in orientation. I just started a couple of weeks ago. I have a very positive attitude. My instructor said I had a very "fresh" approach to learning. I kind of force my self to be and stay positive. I am very happy you said I hope it continues to go well for you. =D oh if you only knew.....
    Don't worry this too shall pass.
    You will rock the floor before you know it.
    Plus, we got your back. Us new grads have to stick together.
  6. by   WindyhillBSN
    I'm beating myself up too. Some nurse reported me b/c they couldn't find me quick enough. I had been in and out of pts rooms all day. They told the manager about it as if I was hiding. I'm still devastated.
  7. by   plaidshirt52
    I am in my 12th week of orientation and I'm amazed at the number of mistakes that I continue to make. I think feeling stressed out about making mistakes adds to the problem. However, it helps me to think about the mistake and try to figure out a way to avoid it next time. That seems to help.
  8. by   sissiesmama
    Loved OR - Hello. I understand how you are feeling, it's not uncommon. I felt that way too. Still feel that way at times. I have been a nurse for 18 years and still remember my first one. I was working med surg and had a patient who had a tube (actually it was a red rubber straight cath to her abd wall. In report, the nurse told me she had a PEG tube and had pulled it out. She said that they put that in until they could replace it in Endo.

    I went in with her am meds and crushed them. I diluted them and pushed them through what they said was basically a PEG tube. The charge nurse was outside the room and apparently knew what they told me in report, that the meds went through the tube. As soon as she heard me coming to the door, she came in and wanted to know how I gave the meds. When I told her, she called the doc and complained.

    Turns out, the doc had placed a drain through her abdominal wall. He was SO chapped! Kind of felt like she set me up, but oh, well. My point, everyone will make mistakes, some little ones and some big honking ones that affect a pts condition. You show you are dedicated by feeling bad about making them. As long as you can learn from the ones you make and be honest and tell someone when you do to prevent injury to the pts, you are doing the right thing. I learned more the first yr I nursed than I ever did in school.

    Good luck, and just keep on doing what you're doing. It just takes caring about your patients, not just caring for their complaints, if that makes any sense.

    Anne, RNC
  9. by   masaya
    my first mistake,order-lidocaine 50mg iv bolus(cardiac case)pt relative bought and gave me a fifty ml vial,no label how much mg there are.I called the pharmacy and ask,said 50mg/50ml.Since i am very new then,i ask my senoir nurse,said 50mg/50ml vial.Still i am not fully convinced.But thne i prepared and told the medical intern(graduate of medicine but still no license)giving him the 50ml syringe with 50 ml lidocaine to be given iv push(medical intern are in-charged of giving iv meds).I even fixed well the cardiac monitor and attached it to the patient and told him to take care,leaving him as i attend to another case.He has given 10ml of the said drug and he called for code blue(arrested).Resusitation done,,shifted to icu thereafter.Just by co-incident,i have a dorm-mate assigned i icu and when we met in the dormitory on the night,she said they were so busy on that day due to several er admission coming from my unit (ER).So i asked her about the iv meds for that certain mg.
    God,would you believed her answer to me?It comes on a 20mg/ml.That means that is the reason for the asystole.She adviced me from then on to ask the ICU charge nurse if i have conflict or doubt in any medications.No investigations was done but i told my senior nurse and even my chief nurse.I followed up the case from my dorm-mate till patient was transfered to the ward and discharged in a safe condition.Nothing was done towards my mistake since i had my first job in a government-teaching hospital.But then i prayed hard for this patient and gave me a reason to be a better nurse.I always tell this story to any new colleagues coming in th unit wherever i am,to share to them,to be aware and concern of mistakes that we never intend to happen,and always to ask questions but of course,to a reliable source.
    The incident happened 20 years ago.
    No one is perfect.Even doctors commit grave mistakes.
    Life goes on and we make ourselves a better nurse as we go along with our duty.
    Goodluck.God Will Bless us.
  10. by   Jules A
    At first my mistakes haunted me but as time goes on it gets a bit easier because I now can spot the mistakes that seasoned nurses make sometimes also. I try to use my mistakes as learning experiences and not beat myself up over my feelings of incompetence. We are only human and unfortunately mistakes happen sometimes.
  11. by   ANH_RN
    I have forgotten medications (for Lasix in a CHF pt once -- WHOOPS). Everything tends to kind of work out and not be detrimental. I have forgotten to do this and that and I even left work once without giving report on one of my pts. I had to drive back because I just completely forgot about them..

    I am about 5 months into my career and I can tell you that at THIS point I feel about 75% better than I did the first couple months. I was at the point where I was looking for other degrees I could pursue. Had breakdowns, etc. You will get better at remembering things when your routine becomes more feasible. Until then, ask millions of questions and TELL someone when you are overwhelmed. Hang in there!
  12. by   futurenicunurse2008
    I had a pt whos meds were held because of a procedure,I got so busy with other things that when she came up I forgot to give her meds. Her BP shot up to 200/100.
    I forgot to sign off on meds, Ive forgotten to give meds.
    The scariest was a close call I had, I had pt in rm 33 and 43 and I looked at 33'sblood sugar instead of 43 and almost gave insulin to the wrong pt. If the pt hadnt stopped me and said I shouldnt get insulin I would have given it.

    We all make mistakes the point is to learn from them and not make them again. I make them every day. I was told by one of the other nurses that I was going to make mistakes I just needed to pray mine wasnt the one that kills them. A little morbid I know but kinda true.
  13. by   NeoNurseTX
    i made my first med error yesterday (that i know of) and i've been beating myself up over it. in my efforts to fix it, i fed a kid 30 mins late.
  14. by   bubbly
    Everyone makes mistakes. I just have to put the mistake in perspective and tell myself that as long as the patient is ok and there is no long term damage, it will be just fine. The worst you can do is not learn from your mistakes. If you missed a med, ask yourself why and try to fix that problem the next time you give meds. It will just take practice and a lot of the little things in nursing like labeling and charting stuff will just come naturally to you. Good luck and focus on the things that you are doing right and learning quickly to drown out the mistakes you keep dwelling on.