Had a bad day in clinicals today.

  1. So it all started with a med error... one of omission, but an error just the same. I forget to pull some medication (potassium 1 pill of 2) Then when the instructor said something about the missing med it was like the flood gates opened and I couldn't not cry... and she said "If you can't pull yourself together your going to have to leave." OK lets just make it worse why don't we. Now I know that nurses must keep their composure, and crying in the workplace is unprofessional, but today I just couldn't keep it in. That whole experience just sent the whole day spiraling out of control... on the outside I got back on my horse but on the inside I am still shaken. And very angry that I couldn't not cry! My instructor is the best though, we talked about what went wrong and what I am going to do differently... and she totally built me back up. She said that I have a lot to offer to nursing, but I still have that uneasy feeling that in 10 weeks when I graduate (God willing) I will not be a safe nurse. Any advice or words of encouragment are greatly appreciated.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   dorselm
    Just know that you are so not alone in what you are feeling. I am in Nursing 102 (Fundamentals) where we have clinical 1 day a week from 6:45 am until 10:30 am. Tomorrow I will shadow a 200 student to see what it's going to be like to have clinical for 8 hrs. I am very nervous even though the 200 student will be doing most of the work. I too am afraid of making errors and not being safe. I am going to pray on it and do my best. For you, I would say trust what your instructor said. Take the criticism as well as the praise and learn from this error so that you know what not to repeat. Also try to think about all that you did good in clinical and when you see all that you did good against that one error you'll probably see that the good outweighs the bad. So get up, dust your self off, wipe your tears and get back on the saddle! Keep your head up!:spin:
  4. by   deeDawntee
    What you are experiencing is normal. We all go through the fear that we are really going to hurt somebody. I know I did. I promise you that if you follow your procedures for safe medication administration, you will do fine. Institutions are doing what they can to take the shame out of med errors so that corrections or other procedures can be implemented to make medication administration even safer. You have to trust that when you get to that point you will do fine.

    I would highly recommend that you do whatever you need to do to control your fear and insecurity. I have issues with insecurity myself and I know that I need to keep a handle on it ongoingly.

    Know that fear and excitement have the exact same body sensations, and with some positive self-talk and visualization, you can turn that fear into excitement easily. See yourself as a success and you certainly will be successful. Visualize yourself as comforting, educating, advocating and even saving lives, because you surely will be doing all those and more. I can't tell you how great it is going to feel when you are on your own and you realize that you ARE doing it!

    you can do it...just calm yourself down!!
  5. by   al7139
    OK, so you made an error.
    It really is not the end of the world. True, any med error is serious. HOWEVER, I will tell you that most nurses who have worked for any amount of time (from student to "seasoned") has at some point made a med error.
    I am a new grad. During my last semester clinicals, I mistakenly gave a pt a double dose of po Reglan. I felt so awful! I considered quitting. I was worried that the school would fail me, etc. What counted was that I admitted my mistake, we did the proper paperwork for this situation, and that I learned from this. Ironically, this happened the week after I interviewed and was hired on this same unit (provided I graduated). The unit manager and clinII talked to me the next time I was there, and I could not stop crying. All I could think was "What if it had been a potentially dangerous med and I had been responsible for harming or even killing a pt?" The manager said to me that my reaction (crying and feeling badly about my error) is the right reaction for the situation. Had I not been remorseful, they would have reconsidered my employment. It sound to me like your instructor was very unsympathetic, and could have shown more understanding in your situation. The important thing is that when mistakes happen, you learn from them so they don't happen again. I learned to always check orders, and if I am giving a half dose of a med (i.e. 1/2 tablet, 5ml of a 10ml vial, etc.) highlight or otherwise make a note so I do not overlook it if I get rushed or distracted. No matter how crazy my shift is, I now take the extra few minutes to double check what I am doing, even if it means I stay a little later on my shift.
    Do not be discouraged by this. You are feeling badly, but that is OK. You will learn from this, and can move on from it.
    The fact that you can realize your error is what makes you a good nurse.
    Hang in there!
    Amy
  6. by   smk1
    HUGS! I graduate (hopefully!) in March and I am getting more nervous about the responsibility. All we can do is try our best, learn from our mistakes and try to find ways to minimize the risk of more mistakes happening.
  7. by   cmb73
    I am a student EN in Australia more than 2/3 the way through,on my prac placements I often feel extremely out of my element,and wonder if ill ever be any good at this.
    I keep telling myself that plenty have come before me and plenty will go after me,sometimes it helps,sometimes I get a bit down and out .When I have a great day and actually put something ive learned correctly into practice,or recieve praise for good work,I feel ten feet tall and I feel confident again.
    CMB73
    Last edit by cmb73 on Sep 26, '07
  8. by   cmb73
    My computer is playing up-im seriously not that illiterate!!!!
    CMB73
  9. by   RNBSNGRADUATE
    ((((HUGS)))) Stay encouraged You must process this experience in your own way -- CHOOSE to use it to better yourself as a nurse (sounds like you already have!) KNOW that because you are aware (AWARENESS IS KEY of the problem, you now can take precautions to avoid it in the future!

    Just like others have shared -- you are not alone and it is ok. It is understandable how it affected you <we have one particular instructor @ our school that is known for sending entire groups home w/"unsats" -- everyone, not myself b/c I had her for my very 1st clinical & know how to cope after having that experience, lolol -- everyone is scared of her -- it's a terrible learning environment...absolutely NOT conducive to learning at all...a very uncomfortable, stressful atmosphere -- which leaves students scrambling for how to deal w/all those fears INSTEAD of focusing on the issue at hand -- LEARNING AND INCREASING OUR PATIENT CARE TECHNIQUES!!>

    Stay encouraged and congrats! I look forward to hearing good reports from you in the future

    Hugs!~
  10. by   WDWpixieRN
    I had a med error last year in my 2nd semester of an ADN program. Thank heavens it wasn't life-threatening, but I felt so horrible and down on myself. I'm so glad we had a week between clinicals as it gave me time to get over it to whatever extent I was able to and face going back. It is really difficult, huh? I had a terrific clinical instructor who basically said the same thing others have mentioned -- "The fact that you are upset shows you care."

    However, I think it's really important to try to sustain some self-control in the clinical setting. I see others in my program who work themselves in to such a frenzy, it's amazing they can think at all while on the floor. I wonder how they'll ever manage as nurses on their own with multiple patients!!

    If you see yourself in this situation again, it would probably be prudent to take yourself to the lounge or restroom right away until you are composed. This is probably one of the most stressful things I have ever done, so I get that emotions run amok, but we are still expected to be professionals too.

    Hang in there!!
  11. by   KyPinkRN
    Thanks for all your replies and kind words. I had a much better day today... my patient almost cried when I told her I wouldn't be back tomorrow, so at least I doing something right. It's nice to hear words of encouragement after the kind of day I had yesterday!
  12. by   lake123
    Believe me I know how you feel. I am in my last semester of RN school and I am the only one in the group that has not been in school for 12 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Oh my god! I feel like I am walking thru the hospital not knowing what the %$#*@$#$#$ I am doing. I had the worst day in clinical on Friday. I had 3 patient's that day. One was in CHF, had K-riders going and was getting worse, another had a IV that kept infiltrating, and the other patient coded on me. I wanted to quit. But you now I am still here. Hang in there. Believe you will never forget that med error and You will be more cautious. We learn from our mistakes......that is what makes us human.

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