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.
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