Screw-ups?

  1. I read a lot about funny things that happen and annoying things that happen to nurses on these forums, but what about the times we screw up? I'm starting nursing classes on Monday, and thought it would ease my mind a bit to know that everyone screws up sometimes. So, nurses, nursing students, how about posting some of the first times you screwed up (as a student or after you received that diploma), to ease the minds of those who are just beginning?? And besides, who says you can't look back and laugh at those times? Thanks, you guys!
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   scizzerin
    In my cna clinicals, a resident had the "cha cha cha's" all over the place. I walked in initially with the intention of obtaining a bp, but the s*** hit the fan, literally. I forgot to close the curtain right away, and the unit was being inspected....but it was my first day of clinicals and we didn't get cited. Plus being my first exposure to someone else's poop I stood there for a minute before jumping into action. I hope that is the worst I would ever do, though..
  4. by   DaFreak71
    I was written up twice last semester during clinicals. I'll share with you what happened so that hopefully you won't make the same mistakes (or if you do, you'll know ahead of time that there's a possibility of being written up).

    Write up #1:

    I have a documented hearing disability and my instructors have been aware of this from the first day. When preparing meds during clinical we have to say what the meds are for, why our patient is taking it and adverse reactions to watch for. I prepped all my meds and while I was doing so, I was explaining as I went along what the meds were for, etc. After I was finished I looked at my instructor and said "Can I give my meds now"? She replied "Yes". So I did just that. As I'm walking down the hall after my patient took her meds I see my instructor walking towards me and she says "You didn't just give your patient her meds did you?" I told her I had and she told me that I should have waited for her approval. As it turns out, as I was waiting for her answer as to whether or not I could give my meds, someone walked in the med room and told her she had a phone call. Her "yes" was directed at that person, not me. So I got written up for giving meds without approval.

    Write up #2:

    My patient had an order for Baza cream to be applied to his anal area because he had caustic diahrea. The cream sits on his bedside table so that he can apply it whenever he wants to. During my first encounter with him that morning he had to run to the bathroom and when he came out he was a mess. I cleaned him up, got him a new gown and applied the cream to his anal region before helping him into a new brief. I got written up for not going over my meds with my instructor. Baza cream is available without a prescription but the main reason I didn't go hunt my instructor down and go over the whole MAR protocol is because I didn't want him to have to go through the embarrasment of exposing himself a second time. I figured I was "down there" anyway and I thought I was doing a good thing by thinking of his needs first. My instructor didn't see it that way. If it had been an actual "medication" and not simply a lotion I would have done it differently. If I had the whole situation to do over again, I would have done the exact same thing.

    So there ya go. Not all instructors would have written me up, and you shouldn't be afraid this will happen to you, but just keep in mind that sometimes you can be technically wrong without screwing up. Just suck it up and learn whatever lesson you can from it, then go forth and sin no more.

    Nursing can be a humbling experience
  5. by   moongirl
    Didnt happen to me- but saw an RN go to give a Lovenox on a extremely skinny- 82 lbs- woman with skin that can only be described as hide. Not much subq to pinch. She pinched up what she could, popped the needle in, but it didnt go in because of the tough ol hide, and it bounced back off the skin and flew backwards and hit the floor.
    I still giggle over that one, mainly because thank g-d it didnt happen to me
  6. by   belfry
    Here is a major screw up...still ashamed of myself and horrified at how simple it is to make a mistake.
    Had to get a urine specimen from a cathed pt, so clamped the cath, went back 20 minutes later and got my sterile sample, and sent it to the lab. Went on my merry way.

    NEXT MORNING right when I came on, her husband said to me, "She has not had any urine since yesterday evening, would you mind checking her out? Sure enough....had left the clamp on the tubing.
    Felt awful!!!! Unclamped her and got about 800ccs!

    Odd thing....the night nurse had documented 600 output....hmmmmm
  7. by   bigjay
    I've got a good one from my student days.

    One of my first times giving an IM injection. I'm following the technique where you use your two fingers in a V to spread the skin over the area you're going to inject. I rear back the needle WAY too far and fire it forward... right into the knuckle of one of my fingers. I jerk back and whip the needle back out. My preceptor was standing before me and starts laughing hysterically, the poor patient was asking what was going on! I was actually surprised at how little it hurt since the needle almost went all the way through my joint. Needless to say I'm a lot more careful now...
  8. by   TazziRN
    I had a pt who was having a 24-hour urine collected. I saw a weird looking container in the bathroom but had no clue what it was. It wasn't clear to me that he was supposed to have 24-hours' worth of urine collected and tested; for some reason that I can't explain I thought he was on 24 hours' of I&O. Yep....I very carefully measured several output's worth and discarded the urine in the toi-toi......when I realized what I'd done and fessed up to my instructor......I will never forget the look on her face or the very quiet "Oh sh*t" that passed from twixt her lips......
  9. by   LauraF, RN
    my very first time on my own. I have a patient that needs a stat urine, lab is on it's way to pick it up. I have a CNA with me who is going to help me cath the patient. We explain the procedure to this poor person who hasn't got a clue. She lays down we get her undressed. I have everything I need. I go to insert the catheter, and I did not have the other end inside the container that all the supplies come in, so urine is just going all over this bed. Luckily we caught enough for the lab to get their specimen. From then on I always make sure I know where the other end of the cath is.
  10. by   PRINCESS RN
    Beware of multiple IV Bags and pumps!! I had accidently, during shift change, increased a pt's Dopamine drip from 10cc's to 50 cc's. The patient was not harmed but his HR went up to 150 and I had to call the doctor. I was lucky to have a monitor tech to cathc it and also lucky the rate was going only a few minutes. Always double check your work, I never thought it would that easy to mess up and potentially hurt someone. God Bless PRINCESS RN. :spin:
  11. by   traumamomtx
    one time i had a pt receive regular insulin on the unit before he transferred to me. I miss read the kardex and gave him a second dose after not finding that it had been given in ICU. The thing was it was given the nurse just hadn't documented it on the computer yet. So, instead of calling her I gave it anyway. Spent the entire night taking his blood sugar and watching him. MOral of the story if you question something chances are there is a reason to question it; so do get a second opinion, call someone, whatever it takes. He was fine and we all screw up just make sure to admit the screw up it isn't about your mistake it is about the safety of the patient.
  12. by   HappyNurse2005
    I've shared this story before, but once I had a pt getting blood. Tubing wasn't working for some reason, had to switch tubing. Got new tubing. Turned bag of blood upside down and unspiked the old tubing out of it, threw it away. *here's the key*-As is habit when getting blood ready, I unpeeled the cover over one of the holes in the bag, and spiked it, and turned it back right side up to hang on the pole-
    whoosh! the other hole was open and a half unit of blood spilled out on me, the floor, the patient, teh bed, the pump, etc. I was wearing a white scrub top, too.
    all because I should have put the new tubing back into the same hole i unspiked. whoops.

    the pt had a sense of humor, though
  13. by   gonzo1
    without going into details, gave an insulin injection to an expired pt. I was a new med surg nurse at the time. Walked away wondering why he hadn't moved at all, went back to double check and sure enough he was expired. Most likely had expired before the nurse that had him went home early and just didn't feel like telling me he was gone before she left. She ended up getting fired for lots of problems not soon after.
  14. by   dlsgroovymom
    kjbg
    Last edit by dlsgroovymom on Sep 25, '06

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