No one likes to admit they screwed up!

  1. Has anyone had an incident (screw up) during nursing school that made you question your competency? I'm in my last semester of an associate's program. On my third clinical day i made a huge mistake! I'm going to start with explaining my situation, I'm not making excuses. We have a brand new professor, this is her first time teaching. She is not very supportive and doesn't exactly do things the way we are used to. But anyway that night I was up very late with my baby that was sick. So I was exhausted in clinical. All the care for my patient was completed and all I had left was trach care. There was an inner cannula already in the room that I checked before I did AM care. I could have sworn that it was a #6 which is what I needed. You guessed it---when the teacher accompanied me to supervise, I removed the old inner cannula and attempted to insert the new one when I realized it didn't fit. The professor panicked and told me to call the nurse, which I did. The nurse came in and asked my professor to move out of the way, she looked at the cannula and said it was a #8. My teacher looked at me like she wanted to kill me. The nurse put the old cannula back in, ambued the pt with 100% O2 and took her oxygen saturation--she was 99%. The nurse turned to me and said don't worry the patient is fine--you are a student and are here to learn and you learned a lesson today that you will never forget for the rest of your life--you will never not double and triple check your supplies, equip., meds, etc. again. I felt so bad I wanted to die! I was sooo freaked out that I caused damage to the patient. After that I was crying and the nurse assured me again that everything was ok. My professor explained to me after class that I could be suspended for this but that she is not going to and that I shouldn't discuss this with anyone because if it gets around then I will be. And basically that I have to gain her trust back and that she will be watching me carefully. Which makes me feel like I'm going to be so nervous that I'm not going to be able to function at all. This was very difficult for me to share with all of you. And I know you guys are going to ream me out, but I need some input. I have always done pretty well in the clinical setting and never made a mistake of this magnitude. Because I made such a huge mistake in my last semester do you think that I'm not competent and should withdraw?
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   researchrabbit
    Originally posted by nyangel
    [B]The nurse turned to me and said don't worry the patient is fine--you are a student and are here to learn and you learned a lesson today that you will never forget for the rest of your life--you will never not double and triple check your supplies, equip., meds, etc. again. B]
    Listen to the nurse.
  4. by   RNonsense
    Jeez...wait til you make a doozy of a mistake later on....and we all have! This was NOT bad!!!! Take it as a learning experience, as the other nurse said.
  5. by   Stargazer
    Cripes. NOT a big deal. Now if you'd tried to force the cannula in anyway, or let the patient go without O2 while you were trying to figure out what you'd done wrong, then that would be a problem. You caught the mistake, you took care of the patient, the patient was not harmed in any way, you learned a lesson. No harm, no foul.

    Don't sweat it. Your instructor needs to dial it down a couple of notches.

    And the nurse was exactly right. (See, we don't ALL eat our young!)
  6. by   hoolahan
    Agree, you recognized the problem immediately, and got the resources (nurse who KNEW what she was doing as opposed to your panicky-sounding instructor) and there was no harm done!!

    Why didn't your instructor check this w you before beginning the procedure?? I mean isn't she supposed to demonstrate the procedure for you once before you do it? or had you already been chacked off in lab??

    You did OK, the nurse is right, you will never ever forget to check this when you have a trach pt again, ever!
  7. by   meownsmile
    Gosh,, it sounds like your instructor was pretty incompetant not to have been able to handle that situation. Maybe she is teaching in the wrong unit not to know how to handle a trach on a vent. I know you feel badly about it and i am sorry it happened, but really your instructor should have had you double check your supplies before you started and she should have checked them with you. Where was her head? Maybe she is a little scared of a writup herself if it gets to the wrong people.
  8. by   Stargazer
    Originally posted by meownsmile
    Gosh,, it sounds like your instructor was pretty incompetant not to have been able to handle that situation. Maybe she is teaching in the wrong unit not to know how to handle a trach on a vent. I know you feel badly about it and i am sorry it happened, but really your instructor should have had you double check your supplies before you started and she should have checked them with you. Where was her head? Maybe she is a little scared of a writup herself if it gets to the wrong people.
    You know, meownsmile, I was thinking the same thing. That whole, "Don't discuss this with anyone or you'll get in trouble" thing? Uh-uh. I think she knows SHE failed to supervise you properly, SHE's the instructor, and it's HER butt on the line, not the student's.
  9. by   mother/babyRN
    The nurse who isn't a good one is the one who makes a mistake and either doesn't realize it or doesn't acknowledge it. I keep coming back to what my dad has said all along...It's only a mistake if you repeat it...Otherwise, it's a lesson...
  10. by   angelbear
    I think I like your dad. Smart man!
  11. by   jemb
    Originally posted by nyangel
    The professor panicked and told me to call the nurse, which I did. The nurse came in and asked my professor to move out of the way, she looked at the cannula and said it was a #8. My teacher looked at me like she wanted to kill me. ............ My professor explained to me after class that I could be suspended for this but that she is not going to and that I shouldn't discuss this with anyone because if it gets around then I will be. And basically that I have to gain her trust back and that she will be watching me carefully.
    Your patient was not harmed, and with no help from your professor, you learned something. Just as other posters have said, I cannot imagine a competent instructor letting you get that far along in a serious procedure ( hey, this wasn't a bed bath!) without double checking your supplies. And the threat that you will be suspended if you mention this to anyone really sounds like she's only interested in covering her own butt!

    Take this as the learning experience that it was. You sound like a very conscientious student who is on the path to being an excellent nurse.

    And, just as a little insurance, and for future satisfaction, print out your post and file it away in a safe place so you will still have the details when you are done with school. At that time, report this professor for her unprofessional conduct. How dare she attempt to intimidate her student to cover her own mistake!!!
  12. by   2banurse
    See? No reaming here!!! Not to you anyway, but your instructor on the other hand would be properly chastized (sp?) if she came on this board for her treatment of you. Not only have you learned that you need to look and look again before administering a cannula or any other treatment, but you are helping those of us that will be or are already in nursing schools.

    Hope your little one is feeling better!

    Kris
  13. by   jevans
    Read with amazement

    Do not! and I say again Do not beat yourself up over this

    You are the student!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your prof was in the wrong not only was she there to supervise but to instruct you. It was her duty to check that you had all the correct equipment

    Why do you think she has asked you not to speak of this to anyone????????????

    methinks I smell a cover your a$$ attitude

    As others have already said you have truely learned a valuable lesson

    And lets be honest if you have a day where you cannot say I learned something today then you are in the wrong profession
  14. by   emily_mom
    Listen to the nurse....she obviously has a lot more compassion than your instructor.

    Kristy

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