Mistake in clinical

  1. I just wanted to get some feedback regarding clinical mistakes. I had a patient who was on a heparin drip. Let me preface this story by telling you that I did NOT hang the heparin the RN did and up when I came on duty. I did check the bag to make sure it was indeed heparin at the ordered concentration. My pt had a double pump with NS running at 100 ml/hr and heparin 13 ml/hr. I did not follow my lines to the pump and pt to ensure the pt was getting the recommended dosage. The lines had been crossed and the pt got a large heparin bolus. No harm came to the patient but I feel horrible that I did not check the lines as the RN had hung the bag. I overlooked the need for MY own assessment of the PT IV lines.
    After this incident I was in the breakroom upset and trying not to cry when a classmate said in front of several other classmates "I'm glad you finally made a mistake, you're always so perfect." I was already very upset and this comment simply pushed my over the edge. I left the room quickly before everyone saw me cry. my classmate said ha ha only joking, but I feel that they really meant it. My instructor and the pt's RN talked to me and made me feel a little bit better and told me to use this incident as a learning experience, and this definitely ensured that I wll be the IV line nazi from now on. But I can't get my classmate's comments out of my head. Any suggestions as to how I should deal with this? Any input would be great.
    Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   Erikadawn RN
    I am currently a student nurse and I have not started clinicals.One thing I know is that people are intimidated by successful people. Do not stop doing a thorough job.
  4. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from mdinelle73
    ..... My instructor and the pt's RN talked to me and made me feel a little bit better and told me to use this incident as a learning experience, and this definitely ensured that I wll be the IV line nazi from now on. But I can't get my classmate's comments out of my head. Any suggestions as to how I should deal with this? Any input would be great.
    Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
    My guess is you should let this go at this point. Yes, a more thorough examination of the tubing would have led you to find the mistake earlier. No, you didn't do absolutely everything that was possible to find that mistake at the time. And Yes, it was a mistake, but if this is the worst one you ever make, you'll be a pretty spectacular nurse. We all make mistakes; anyone who says they haven't is either lying or too stupid to know the difference!

    Your classmate's poorly-received joke was a little opportunity for you to see that you are seen as something of a perfectionist, and perhaps even a "perfect" classmate in others' eyes. On the one hand it's wonderful to know that so many have such high respect for your abilities, and yet on the other, it's sobering to know that you have placed such high expectations on yourself that you can't let go something that you have already been told you need to.

    I ought to know. I was a perfectionist in school, one of those students who, if I did make a mistake, was looked on oddly, as though it just couldn't be so. Please! We're human! And those ridiculously high standards I set for myself gave me a rough start in "real" nursing in general: the smallest thing going wrong set me off, that I was incompetent, etc etc. Hardly the case. Yet I took everything so VERY seriously, and very personally (and yes, still do...still working on that!) that it was darned near impossible for others to let me know my worth as a nurse was NOT measured by that error. How I dealt with it in the future was far more important than dwelling.

    Please heed this....I can tell from your tone you are consciencious and will likely be a fabulous nurse
  5. by   Daytonite
    you need to recognize what this student's comment is for what it is--nasty. she's also insensitive and a jerk. she's jealous of you, plain and simple. in her ignorant way, she' actually complimented you. you should be grinning from ear to ear!
    Last edit by Daytonite on Dec 1, '06
  6. by   tencat
    Hey, you learned an important lesson (check those lines) and I'll bet you don't make that mistake again. We're going to make mistakes, we're human and some days it's crazy. The important thing is to learn from them.
  7. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from daytonite
    you need to recognize what this student's comment is for what it is--nasty. she's also insensitive and a jerk. she's jealous of you, plain and simple. in her ignorant way, she' actually complimented you. you should be grinning from ear to ear!
    i second this!
  8. by   collegebound
    Quote from daytonite
    you need to recognize what this student's comment is for what it is--nasty. she's also insensitive and a jerk. she's jealous of you, plain and simple. in her ignorant way, she' actually complimented you. you should be grinning from ear to ear!
    i agree with this. i am a good student too and often receive "joking" from certain other students in my class. i have been called unpleasant names, accused of ruining curves (as if we get them!), etc. because i am a pretty vocal person my self, i usually respond in kind. "jokingly," of course. there are a few who were not as unpleasant that i have extended hands of friendship to and have helped them study and prepare. now, there are very few that bad mouth me, at least to my face. it is important to me to stand up for myself, and let others know that i will not take their bs, but that i am really a generous person and will help anyone who wants it!

    my : just handle the situation in a way in which you can still be proud of yourself in the morning. do not comprise yourself in the face of others--they are not worth the guilt you will feel if you stoop to their level. i hope you can resolve this--keep us updated!
  9. by   JentheRN05
    Just an important note here. The RN hung the heparin, not you. She made the mistake, you simply did not CATCH her mistake. So don't look too far into this 'mistake' because it is not yours to accept. However, take into consideration that even though it was HER mistake, you get to learn from it.

    Another note, even though I don't get to work with IVs anymore (WAHHHH!) I was told the best way to keep them straight is with different colored tape with bag coordinated with the tubing it is attached to
    Keep your head up, you did nothing wrong, well not seriously. The RN was wrong.
  10. by   RNfromMN
    as someone who constantly hides behind sarcasm and who all-too-often makes "poorly-received" jokes, i can tell you with quite a bit of confidence that this "jerk" in class was probably just trying to make you feel better. by saying something to the affect of, "you finally screwed up," she was actually saying, "we've all made mistakes; it's not that big of a deal...and hat's off that this is only your first one."

    and if this girl's anything like me, if she caught on that she upset you, she probably feels terrible about it. wait and see how she acts in class for the next few days...once i know i've hurt someone's feelings, i either apologize to them, or at least keep my mouth shut around them for awhile out of embarrassment.

    or there's the strong possibility that i don't know what i'm talking about and that this girl really is a jerk. you'd know better than i would
  11. by   GratefulHeart
    Quote from mdinelle73
    I just wanted to get some feedback regarding clinical mistakes. I had a patient who was on a heparin drip. Let me preface this story by telling you that I did NOT hang the heparin the RN did and up when I came on duty. I did check the bag to make sure it was indeed heparin at the ordered concentration. My pt had a double pump with NS running at 100 ml/hr and heparin 13 ml/hr. I did not follow my lines to the pump and pt to ensure the pt was getting the recommended dosage. The lines had been crossed and the pt got a large heparin bolus. No harm came to the patient but I feel horrible that I did not check the lines as the RN had hung the bag. I overlooked the need for MY own assessment of the PT IV lines.
    After this incident I was in the breakroom upset and trying not to cry when a classmate said in front of several other classmates "I'm glad you finally made a mistake, you're always so perfect." I was already very upset and this comment simply pushed my over the edge. I left the room quickly before everyone saw me cry. my classmate said ha ha only joking, but I feel that they really meant it. My instructor and the pt's RN talked to me and made me feel a little bit better and told me to use this incident as a learning experience, and this definitely ensured that I wll be the IV line nazi from now on. But I can't get my classmate's comments out of my head. Any suggestions as to how I should deal with this? Any input would be great.
    Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
    I never will *get* that kind of insensitivity from a fellow student - simply no excuse for it. It falls into the same category as the jerk students who sat laughing/mocking yesterday watching while I tried to push open a stuck door twice with all of my weight against it and couldn't get the thing to budge. No offer to help, just mocking laughter and jeers. Irritating, yes, but really a poor reflection on them - I thought to myself as I walked amazed at their immaturity.

    Whatever coping strategy you use to *shake it off* is what you need to do for yourself now (for me that's a swift walk and a calming cup of tea).

    This classmate's rude remark isn't worth the expense of your emotional energy, because life will go on, and you will become a better nurse by learning from your mishap!
  12. by   cherokeesummer
    I agree with the others that stated the RN made the mistake, your mistake was not catching hers so while its a mistake its not as bad as the wrong bag being hung...but it does go to show you that mistakes happen...to everyone, new and experienced.

    As for the comment from a fellow student, who knows - it could be that they wanted to make you feel lighthearted about it or maybe she was jealous, whatever the case, try not to let it bug you too much. Like mentioned above, see how they act the next few days, they might feel bad thinking that they've hurt your feelings.

    I get comments like that regarding my testing ability but I've now got average grades and nobody makes those comments anymore to my face anyway..but as I told the girl who would say that - I'm not perfect, I can get bad grades too!
  13. by   WDWpixieRN
    You know, I think the comment would have been more appropriate had you gotten 50% on a test rather than your usual 95%, but not in a situation like this....only after someone has made a "mistake" in clinicals and felt the horror of possibly doing harm could they understand how tactless this was....or very immature...I'd definitely let it go and continue to maintain the high standards you have set for yourself...consider the source and move on...
  14. by   Lisa CCU RN
    I think the person who made that comment had obviously just drunk a big dose of HATERADE.

    Don't worry about it.

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