3 medication-related errors in 6 months. Is this a sign I should quit? - page 2

I'm a nurse of 1 year, 8 months. I work in a medical/surgical ward where things are frequently busy and I'm often under a lot of stress. While my first year was rough, I managed to pull through... Read More

  1. by   akulahawkRN
    I would say that given your load, having only 3 (and at least one of those is marginally so) errors during that time is actually pretty good. Remember to go through all the "rights and checks" you were taught in school and this will, by itself, reduce the number of errors you will have. Generally speaking, all nurses will have med errors. Management will always want us to be 100% perfect in this area, but it will happen because we're only human. Fortunately in the US, many hospitals have switched over to an electronic MAR which can greatly help with reducing errors.

    I'm an ER nurse and while it's nice to have meds that need to only be given "now" instead of on a set schedule, when you have multiple meds suddenly ordered "now" for all of your patients, it can make you run around like the proverbial "headless chicken." This can lead to errors. I may be very, very fast at my job but the one thing I slow down a bit for is when I'm administering medications. The reason I consciously slow down for this is because like a bullet that's fired from a gun, once that medication has been administered, you can't recall it. Giving the wrong med can easily kill your patient. It's also why I almost NEVER pull medications for more than one patient at a time. This way I greatly reduce the chance I could give a patient the wrong medication.

    The situation you find yourself in is very dangerous for everyone. If you or your unit cannot find a way to reduce the workload, you will need to quickly find yourself a new position where your patient load is far less heavy. It's not necessarily YOU that is the problem. This is a system problem and you're taking the brunt of it and you're being put in a position that you do not want to be in. They're likely going to issue a letter of warning to you because they expect 100% accuracy in medication administration. Trust me in this: you will not likely be able to make it through the terms of the warning letter. The environment you're in basically makes it impossible for this to occur barring a miracle. Once you have this warning letter, they can (and will) scrutinize every medication administration you do and they will find more errors, even if they're "minor" errors. They will keep accumulating those "error" records until at some point they will decide you cannot meet the terms of the warning letter and then they'll proceed to the next step, which will be outlined in the warning letter, probably termination of employment due to excessive medication errors continuing after the issuance of a warning letter.

    My advice is simple. Get out. Soon.
  2. by   SobreRN
    Try not to beat yourself up too badly, we have all made mistakes. You mentioned working night shift which may exacerbate the problem if you are tired. It sounds as if your self-confidence is suffering and feeling stressed all of the time will not help AND 13 patients? I don't know how hospitals justify doing this, in California we went to safe staffing guidelines >10 years ago but not seeing other states follow suit which is a shame.
    Do they have electronic scanning? That would have alerted you to both the missed eye-drops and Benadryl. As for hospital nursing I am quite happy to be away from that and, God willing, will never return to bedside nursing. With over a year experience you can likely look for jobs outside the hospital setting which may allow you more breathing room to focus.
  3. by   fezz
    Think about the hundreds of time you did everything right. These are not serious cases. If they overwork you and then make you feel this bad about 3 non serious issues in 1 year and 8 months I understand why you might want to look for another job. I have worked in various busy settings for years and mistakes like yours happens more often than you might think. And great nurses and doctors makes them too. Not just inexperienced ones. Not everybody reports it so good for you for being so particular. You are obviously very trustworthy and conscientious.
  4. by   SobreRN
    Too true in that it is a system problem but as we all know they will throw the nurse under the bus every time.