Most embarrassing mistake you've ever made

  1. 2
    Just for fun. What the most embarrassing mistake you've made in your nursing career? (I'm not talking about sentinel events, please keep those to yourself.)

    Well, here goes: Maybe two weeks into my orientation in ICU, I'm going to administer some med via a PEG tube. The PEG is buried beneath gown, sheet and blankets and I finally find the Lopez valve. The patient is receiving tube feeding also. I turn the stopcock on the Lopez valve, try to administer the med with the syringe . . . it won't go in . . . I push a little harder . . . still won't go in . . . one more push and suddenly, the tubing on the Kangaroo pump disconnects and showers me with Jevity!! I had turned the stopcock off to the patient and being new I didn't notice which side was the PEG and which side had the feeding tube!!

    I looked around quickly and saw my preceptor standing there, bent over laughing!! Thankfully, the patient was sedated, so he couldn't join in.
    LeeMy49 and Spritenurse1210 like this.
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  4. 43 Comments so far...

  5. 13
    as a then student anxious to "perform" in real life, all those things that we had only done previously on mannequins, i was suddenly afforded the chance to insert my first foley catheter. a frequent flyer to the ed where i was doing my student externship rolled in, and as usual for him, overdosed on placidyls (ethchlorvynol, a sedative hypnotic that thankfully isn't used any more).

    one of the precepting rn's asked me if i wanted to insert the foley, and of course i jumped at the chance. fearful of making any mistakes, i opened the foley kit and prepped the patient textbook letter perfect. taking the sterile catheter in hand, i aimed the well lubricated tip at the patient's urethra, ....only to find that there wasn't one. pointing the comatose man's glans left and right, tilting it forward and then backwards all were for naught, as there was no urethra found anywhere. i had been so absorbed in doing everything correctly that i had failed to really look at the condition of the man's privates before attempting the insertion. so there i was, standing there with a patient's manhood in one hand, and foley catheter in the other, and not knowing what else to do. for the first time, i looked up (with probably a panic) at my preceptor for help.

    by this time the staff rn's were all beside themselves howling with laughter. one of them finally spoke up between guffaws, and shouted "...look under your fingers!" i lifted up my fingers that had been holding the man's business and realized only then that he had a severe hypospadias. the urethral opening was midway along the underside of the shaft. of course, the ed staffers all knew this, as this was one of their regulars. they just couldn't resist zinging the student, who then unwittingly obliged.
    Last edit by Emergency RN on Dec 5, '09
    fortunato, nurse441, Ivanna_Nurse, and 10 others like this.
  6. 3
    Inserting a foley catheter on someone that got an erection.....OOH, yuck, just an awful feeling!!!
    nurse441, kathy313, and Sesya like this.
  7. 8
    Emergency RN: Oh, they got you good

    I have made many embarrassing mistakes during the whole 1.5 years I've been a nurse. I guess the funniest one was I had just come back from taking a lunch and I had a new patient (I work ER). I was told in the brief report she was here for a headache. She put on the call light and I went into the room. She was in her 40's, sitting up in bed watching TV, alert and oriented x 3. She asked me to help her on a bedpan. Well, I paused for a second and pointed to the restroom that was attached to her room and said, "The bathroom is right there" (in a nice way). Then she pulled back the covers and showed me that she was a bilateral above the knee amputee. Oops. So I of course then helped her on a bed pain. I went back to the desk to tell everyone my goof up and everyone laughed because she is a frequent flier in our ER.
  8. 2
    On my very first day as a working RN in the NICU last month, I was peed on by my assigned baby...about 10 minutes after my first shift started, I had been baptized, with half the staff watching (and laughing).

    I learned quickly that it is indeed NOT best to change the diapers from the end of the radiant warmer.
    Ivanna_Nurse and sunnycalifRN like this.
  9. 1
    Just this week, I was doing change and the attending asked for the alcohol foam. Attempting to be helpful I grabbed the foam, aimed for his hand and instead, I doused the whole front of his shirt. He starting laughing, someone grabbed a bunch of papertowels and patted him down. He laughed even harder, then thanked us for the pat down.
    sunnycalifRN likes this.
  10. 11
    For most of a day, I called a stroke victim by her dog's name, Littlefoot. I saw a sign about the bed and made a quick assumption that it was her nickname.
    She just stared at me with big eyes every time I called her name. She was unable to speak.
    I felt like such a fool when, during a turn, a nurses' aid asked me why I was calling the patient by her dog's name.
    amarilla, Gold_SJ, meluhn, and 8 others like this.
  11. 1
    Quote from JessicaSN
    Emergency RN: Oh, they got you good

    I have made many embarrassing mistakes during the whole 1.5 years I've been a nurse. I guess the funniest one was I had just come back from taking a lunch and I had a new patient (I work ER). I was told in the brief report she was here for a headache. She put on the call light and I went into the room. She was in her 40's, sitting up in bed watching TV, alert and oriented x 3. She asked me to help her on a bedpan. Well, I paused for a second and pointed to the restroom that was attached to her room and said, "The bathroom is right there" (in a nice way). Then she pulled back the covers and showed me that she was a bilateral above the knee amputee. Oops. So I of course then helped her on a bed pain. I went back to the desk to tell everyone my goof up and everyone laughed because she is a frequent flier in our ER.
    I did almost the same thing. Told a double amputee that I had to check his pedal pulses, pulled up the covers and, I was like . . . . where are his feet? When I realized my faux pas, I apologized and made a quick exit. You probably could have roasted marshmellows with the heat from my red face!!
    Emergency RN likes this.
  12. 2
    We had an overdose pt that needed an NG tube and charcoal. I had 2 other nurses in the room to assist. The Ng tube was inserted and I was trying really hard to push the charcoal into the tube. The nurse that was holding the NG tube loosened her grip for a moment and I got a massive facial shower of black charcoal!
    amarilla and sunnycalifRN like this.
  13. 1
    About 15 minutes before the end of my shift once, I discovered that one of my patient's feeding tubes had migrated up out of his esopagus and was curled in his mouth. I pulled the tube, informed the MD, inserted another, and called for PCXR to confirm placement. In my haste to finish everything before I had to give report, I made a charting mistake. Using our computer charting system I charted, "Tube found coiled in mouth" etc... . Unfortunately I had accidentally clicked on the box for "FOLEY" catheter instead of feeding tube. The oncoming nurse found this so amusing (foley found coiled in mouth!) that she printed out my charting and circulated it to everyone on day shift in both ICUs. So humiliating.
    meluhn likes this.


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