What's the biggest mistake you've ever made as a nurse? What did you learn from it? - page 9

by Mini-Murse 95,962 Views | 159 Comments

If you feel comfortable posting to this thread, awesome. If not, no biggy! I was wondering what the biggest mistake you've ever made in your nursing career has been. It could have to do with drug dosage or administration, or... Read More


  1. 2
    Is it just me, or does it appear that you can give just about any dose of Coumadin, and the INRs go all over the place, almost as though they have a life of their own? A crapshoot, even? It must the most unpredictable med out there.
    BelindaLPN and calivianya like this.
  2. 0
    Quote from anon456
    I learned to speak up if I don't feel the assignment is safe. I got into a situation where I was new and I was scared of the assignment at report time. But I thought, I can handle this, it's a good learning experience right? Wrong. I made a mistake that did not harm anyone long-term but it was because I was overwhelmed and feeling anxious and rushing. There is a fine line between being out of my comfort zone but I can make it fly, and not being safe because I can't handle all the tasks and have time to slow down, think about what I'm doing, and keep a good eye on the patient to watch for changes. I am now very free to tell my charge nurse my feelings and ask for help. Last night was one of those nights that at report time I knew it was going to be tough as I had two very touchy patients with lots and lots of tasks to complete that it was impossible. I spoke up and another nurse was assigned to take over one of my patients for part of the shift-- she had an open bed still. Later on things had settled down and I took the patient back into my care while she took the new admit.
    ^Learning this as well...again, as a new grad (from being an well-rounded LPN)

    Had a similar "come to Jesus" meeting with me orientation coordinator. It is a HUGE learning curve, this CC machine, and I knew that coming in and was vocal about that. Guess I wasn't vocal enough, or my communication on my part was more to the different culture of the unit and hospital, in addition of what you are experiencing above. This is one of the few places I worked where it is a positive work environment-SO NOT used to that! Any-who...I spoke up well enough for her to decide "I haven't given up on you yet." Well I don't give up on myself lol..but I'm working at it...from here on out, I'm MAKING it CLEAR... for the sake of safety,my pts and my SANITY!! We will get there!
  3. 2
    Biggest mistake I ever made as a new nurse is with IV fluids and I saw nurses that started behind me, make this mistake over and over again. It could have been fatal, but luckily the odds were with me that night.

    They say you should always do hourly checks of your IV rates (to make sure the same rate is on the pump), which I ALWAYS did.

    However, when fluids are changed out by shift, what I never thought to do, is follow the line from the bag through the pump slot to make sure the IV that I thought was running at 25/ml an hour was the IV I WANTED to run at 25/ml an hour.

    I accidently transposed two fluids when I changed the bags and lines out and didn't discover this until much later in the shift.


    I can tell you this..I never made that mistake again.
    calivianya and GrnTea like this.
  4. 0
    eedit
    Last edit by dirtyhippiegirl on Apr 6, '13
  5. 4
    I left a tourniquet on someone's forearm for about...30-45 minutes. Yup! It was the end of a really lousy day and I needed to grab some blood from a LOL before report. Got the tubes I needed and gave report to the night nurse and went home. The next morning I came back and the nurse said, "just a heads up someone left a tourniquet on her arm, luckily it wasn't tied tightly and it didn't occlude blood flow, just be careful." It still haunts me to this day. After drawing blood or starting an IV I've been known to check and recheck 3-4 times. It could have been so much worse...
    CLoGreenEyes, prnqday, Esme12, and 1 other like this.
  6. 0
    I inserted an NG tube and checked for proper placement, both by auscultation and pH. Both confirmed it was in the stomach. The doc ordered the NG to be hooked to suction, so immediately after checking placement I hooked it to the suction. I completely forgot that before anything happens with the NG tube it has to be confirmed by x-ray for proper placement! Luckily someone else caught it after it had only been hooked to suction for about 30 min. I felt so stupid, but was relieved when the x-ray confirmed it was in the stomach. I'll never make that mistake again!
  7. 0
    Quote from RachelRN89
    I inserted an NG tube and checked for proper placement, both by auscultation and pH. Both confirmed it was in the stomach. The doc ordered the NG to be hooked to suction, so immediately after checking placement I hooked it to the suction. I completely forgot that before anything happens with the NG tube it has to be confirmed by x-ray for proper placement! Luckily someone else caught it after it had only been hooked to suction for about 30 min. I felt so stupid, but was relieved when the x-ray confirmed it was in the stomach. I'll never make that mistake again!
    I have never worked someplace where x-ray is necessary for placement for suction. The x-ray is essential if you are administering feeds, but I don't see the point for suction
  8. 0
    I had a patient with prostate issues. I was told by the prior nurse that the patient has the prostate cancer as well. Not as a bedside report!
    Anyway, when I was giving report to a different nurse at the end of my shift, we did bedside report. And I told the nurse that the patient had prostate cancer, in front of the patient. Guess what? Patient got freaked out saying "what! I don't have cancer!, etc". Doctor happened to come in and witness some of that too by the way. The reality is, patient didn't have the cancer. When we left the room, doctor approached me and said that the patient didn't have a cancer and I shouldn't have said that. Fortunately, he was one of the very nice doctors, and I told him that that was what I was told too.
    I felt so embarrassed and dumb in front of the patient. But I still blame the previous nurse who told me that.
  9. 0
    Not really a big mistake but I have had a morphine carpuject explode. I didn't even inject air into it so I'm not sure what happened. I did get morphine all over my shoes. Lol.

    ~ No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent -Eleanor Roosevelt ~
  10. 1
    Many facilities have unregulated care providers giving medication including insulin. NO nurse on staff!!!! All about the $$$$
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.


Top