My major mistake This thread is about a mistake i made nearly a year ago.

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    This thread is about a mistake i made nearly a year ago. At the time i was about 6 months in to being a grad nurse. Where i work they do team nursing - 2 nurses working together to look after 8 surgical patients. My partner was on break, it was the patients dinner time and i had a pt return to the ward post-op and a new admission.

    In the middle of this chaos i remembered i needed to give pt B their insulin. I gave the substantial dose of insulin to pt A, a diabetic pt not on insulin. I recognised the problem shortly after, notified the nurse in charge and doctors immediately and apologised to the pt profusely. The pt was understandably very angry at first but later tried to comfort ME and said 'mistakes happen". the pt recieved IV glucose and hourly BSLS o/n without any hypos or adverse events. The pt was even discharged the following afternoon.

    I felt like dying that night. I came to this profession to help people not potentially kill them. I returned to work the next day with the attitude that i wanted to show everyone i was in fact a competent nurse and get on with my job, i really needed to convince myself. years of education had drilled into me the 5 rights the 5 rights the 5 rights and in one brief moment of overwhelming stupidity i threw it out the window and seriously compromised a pt.

    The ward staff were almost overbearing at the time with 'dont worry mistakes happen', 'we dont think any different of you' and 'hey, no one died' - thats scary isnt it? in our profession the highest form of reassurance is non one died. i just wanted to sink into the very biggest deepest hole i could find and stay there indeffinently. I was so humiliated by how seriously bad things could have been, i thought everyone would think so much less of me and wouldnt trust me to do my job .

    Some days now, when I'm at work and a pt compliments me on my abilities or i feel good at work the memory of that day floats back and reminds of the nurse i was in that moment, the nurse i will not allow myself to be again. I suppose I'm using this thread for some support, i'm hoping someone will tell me 'hey, you're not a bad nurse' and i'm hoping i'll believe them. I love my job, i care so deeply about my pts and i need to move on from this incident. I know that i am valued by my colleagues and patients, but as of yet, nearly one year on, i find it hard to value myself.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jul 15, '13 : Reason: formatting
    KimberlyRN89 likes this.
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  3. 13 Comments so far...

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    Why are you beating yourself up? It was a year ago. Mistakes happen, no one is perfect. Seems you've learned from your mistake, and are you ever going to do it again? Probably not. Live and learn.
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    Sometimes, you just need to put those thoughts away and move forward.
    You can't change what happend. You can only go on from today--from right now.
    The best part of this is that you learned. And I bet that you will never make that mistake again.
    We are all human. Not one person is perfect.
    Look at it this way--you go to work every day with the intention of providing quality care. People don't become nurses to mess up other's lives and/or health. Intention and mindfullness go a long way.

    Moving on and moving forward your mission is to make sure what you are doing today is correct. Part of that process for you was to be in a place where this was not the case. Thankfully with no lasting harm in the process.
    BrandonLPN likes this.
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    tell yourself that it was a learning experience and move on. Guilt and fear will paralyze
    KimberlyRN89 and Altra like this.
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    Everyone is posting the same thing I'm about to say: STOP beating yourself UP.

    Take care of yourself. If needed, seek out a counselor to help assist you in moving past this incident and feelings of negativity.

    Wishing you well.
    KimberlyRN89 likes this.
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    There are whole threads, long ones, on AN about "what was your worst error?" If we all let our errors make us doubt ourselves and we could never move on having learnt a lesson, who would be staffing the floors of this great land? Nobody, that's who.

    I will go one step further than the conventional wisdom here, though, and suggest to you in all kindness that if this issue is a continuing source of unhappiness, unease, and self-doubt a full year later that you seek a quick professional tune-up from a pro counselor to figure out what else is going on here. We've many of us done that, too. Why suffer any longer? Having your co-workers do everything short of slap you upside the head and tell you to move on, you're no special snowflake, just human like the rest of us, and all that isn't working, I'm not confident that a lot of anonymous folks here (no matter how well-meaning or well-spoken) will do a lot, so go to the pro.
    Ruas61, OCNRN63, and amoLucia like this.
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    Nurses who make med errors are EVERY SINGLE NURSE WHO'S EVER WORKED AS A NURSE ON THE FLOOR. Or they're lying. Nurses who don't give a crap about their med error, even long after, are the nurses who are a danger. What I'm trying to say is that's it's good you own it/care. What has me slightly concerned is that you need outside validation from a bunch of nurses you don't know. Validate yourself, us anon nurses can't do it for you. You've learned. You're not the same nurse you were then. You're better/more experienced now.... aren't you? We are our own worse critics. Take that experience/knowledge to head off a FUTURE med error!!!!!

    Only you can know if you need professional counseling to cope... I'd give you some big girl panties but I need them after a scare I recently had. There's always a scare around the corner. Let's fend those off instead of concentrating on the ones that didn't have consequences.

    Easier said than done, I know!
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    You are NOT a bad nurse. You realized your mistake, admitted it, & took steps to ensure the patient's well-being. Your coworkers are right: everyone makes mistakes. Nurses who say they've never made any kind of error are either (A) very lucky or (B) lying. Stop beating yourself up. That is an error you will never make again.
    KimberlyRN89 likes this.
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    Think of it as a learning experience that will make you a better nurse. We've all been there... the worst one I ever made I thankfully caught before I gave it to the patient. But talk about how awesome you become at triple checking yourself after to prevent it from ever happening again. I'm sure the patient's over it, now it's time to forgive yourself.
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    Mistakes DO happen to ALL of us! I know the mistakes I have made I have learned from and bring them with me everyday as a nurse. Usually it's something you will never forget again! Let it make you a better, stronger nurse. Don't beat yourself up!


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