Will being written up for a med error affect getting a new job??

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    When I graduated nursing school I took a job that I did not particularly want. The job offer was not a bad offer and I was grateful to be employed in such a tough market as many of my friends had a really terrible time finding a first nursing job. I have been at the job and off orientation for a little over a year- so I started applying to new jobs hoping that my experience would enable me to get a job on a unit I want (peds/maternal/infant). I recently had some interviews which went really well- but then this past week I made a med error and am being written up. It is my first time being written up and I am not sure what to expect- my manager initially said she was not going to write me up but then she told me she had to because her higher ups are insisting that some action be taken. The error did not adversely affect the patient (Thank goodness!!!) and the doctors were totally unconcerned about it- but it did involve heparin which is a high alert medication. I have been beating myself up about it, feeling like I have a blinking sign above my head that says Bad Nurse! I know I should accept this as a learning experience and move on... and I am fine accepting the consequences of my mistake (i.e. being written up and the following interventions my NM is going to design)... but I am now nervous that if one of the hospitals I interviewed with calls me back and I do get a job offer that they can rescind the offer based on my write up.
    I guess I am just wondering if the write-up is something my hospital would tell a potential employer?
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    No. The only info is usually dates of employment, and eligibility for rehire, if you are no longer employed there.

    You have learned your lesson, and will not likely make the same mistake again. Was there a system error involved, or was this purely an oversight on your part?

    Anyway, do not worry about the hospitals you hav applied to, they are not going to find out about your one error.
    GrnTea likes this.
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    I wouldn't worry about it. I think a med error may affect future jobs if something serious happened to the patient and you were terminated or tagged "do not rehire" as a result, then you may be forced to explain it. But based on what you write, it sounds like this one error shouldn't affect your future employment chances.
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    the only thing i can thing of is if you put your nurse manger or don as a reference and they told your potential new employer.
    Meriwhen likes this.
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    As others have posted, depending upon the severity of the error someone made, it might. But for the most part it won't. Please do not beat yourself up. (Uh that's like me calling the kettle black. I beat myself up all the time.) We are humans. And it is this human interaction called 'Caring' that makes us who we are! If you didn't care? It wouldn't bother you. As has been said before...learn and move on!
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    Your current employer is not likely to mention this internal personnel action unless it becomes enough of a habit that it makes it necessary to terminate you for the behavior. You need to calm down, learn from the situation, and make every effort not to repeat this or start making other kinds of actionable errors, whether you stay or intend to leave.
    Meriwhen likes this.
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    Thanks to everyone for the advice and encouragement! It is definitely a big learning experience! I am glad this shouldn't affect my future opportunities and am also glad I had my interviews before this happened as I definitely feel like I am wearing my mistake on my sleeve! It's been a few days since this happened and I'm trying not to be too hard on myself but I think the disappointment will linger a bit longer... The main thing is that the patient was ok! Thanks again for the feedback!
  10. 1
    Almost all interviews ask a question along the lines of "how did you make a bad thing good?" These questions can be difficult because you don't want to give the impression that you are careless, but if you framed the answer along the lines of, "When I was a new nurse I made this mistake because, xyz, the patient wasn't harmed and it gave me an opportunity to change my practice such that I now do abc and help others avoid making the same mistake." It can turn a negative into a positive.
    SandraCVRN likes this.
  11. 0
    I'm not a lawyer, but I'm fairly certain that you can file a lawsuit against a previous employer for giving out information other than dates of employment and performance reviews.

    I may be wrong, or it may be state to state.
  12. 0
    Quote from HIPAA
    I'm not a lawyer, but I'm fairly certain that you can file a lawsuit against a previous employer for giving out information other than dates of employment and performance reviews.

    I may be wrong, or it may be state to state.
    It's certainly possible that a med error could be noted in a performance review, particularly if it had serious consequences or was a pattern rather than an isolated event. Also, the person calling for the reference may ask if the employee is eligible for rehire. A response of "absolutely not" is pretty telling. And really, if I'm calling for a reference, I would certainly want to know if the employee was a serial absentee or a danger to patients!

    To the OP, I seriously doubt there is a nurse in the field who has not made a medication error at some point in their career. If they say they haven't, I'm thinking either they are not being truthful, or it just wasn't picked up on , so they didn't know about it. No one is perfect.

    Where I worked, all medication errors were written up. The point was not to be punitive, but to address errors with the purpose of figuring out how they happened so that they could be prevented in the future. It's all about patient safety and being able to learn from one's mistakes.


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