Dear Nurse Beth,
The other night, during my med pass, I made an error.
I had accidentally given my pt the narcotic her neighbor was to receive. They were in separate rooms and I obviously failed at my 5 rights. I realized my error before makinga second
error and giving the neighbor the wrong med as well.
I stopped what I was doing, freaked out and then checked the pt, assessed her, told my most senior nurse and called the MD. The MD put an order in for this narcotic as a one time dose. Vitals were stable and the pt slept comfortably but was arousable all night.
However, my senior nurse friend advised me to not tell the DON and I listened. I didn't fill out a report. And I charted that pt requested this med. That was wrong and I'm dying on the inside. I knew not to do that, but I trusted my colleague. Stupid stupid stupid. I knew better.
Today my DON called me. The husband called the pt advocate. He's livid and said she was worse after this narcotic. I told my DON everything and she told me she would get a union rep to start an investigation. I'm so worried and ashamed. I know and knew better. I know I deserve what I get but what should I expect?
Just a little background: I am a nurse of 2 years on a med Tele floor. The med I gave wasroxicodone 10 mg. And the family is livid. Please be kind although I don't deserve and be honest, thank you.
Dear Covered Up Narcotic Med Error,
There's not much I can say that you don't already know.
You acted out of fear and it spun out of control. Now you are faced with being found out, and extreme shame.
I am sorry. It seems the husband who made the complaint is reacting out of proportion.
The way out of shame is to face what you did, and forgive yourself. We all have done things in life we are not proud of, and wouldn't want others to know. You can absolutely recover from this, and go on to be a wiser, better person and nurse.
There will be consequences, of course. The facts are that, in addition to the med error, there was an error of omission in not completing an occurrence report and fraudulent charting in documenting that the patient requested the medication.
The consequences will depend on the investigation and decision of your DON. It's possible they could extend to the BON if your DON chooses to report it.
I do wish you the best.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!