My best orientation mistakes - page 2

by skicoachrn 22,323 Views | 61 Comments

I am week 4 in a 6 week orientation as a new RN in LTC/Rehab. I have done some really stupid stuff so far :lol2: Highlights: 10)__ Tried to hook up an IV antibiotic with kangaroo (g-tube) tubing! 9)__ Unhooked a... Read More


  1. 19
    Quote from ccampbell1012
    hilarious!!!! this made me think about all my embarrassing moments...that i still continue to have. i think more nurses should share their stories. for some reason, after nurses have been practicing for awhile, they start to act like they never made mistakes or did anything silly. while we need to have a professional demeanor and not be silly about the job, humor certainly does help in the times when it just seems depressing. thanks for sharing some funny things! the best thing is that it seems like you have a funny personality and i know patients really appreciate that....well most anyway. they are scared and going through trying times. they need humor too!
    i've been practicing for a long time, yet i still remember vividly some of the dumb things i've done.

    when i first moved to the big city, i was asked to give a shower to an elderly lady who spoke spanish only. by pantomine, i was able to get the idea across that we were going to be washing her up. i gathered all of the supplies and got the shower room ready, and then i rolled my patient into the shower room in her wheelchair, transferred her to the shower chair without incident, and gowned and gloved up in order to keep myself relatively dry.

    as soon as i turned on the water, the patient started to scream "ai! ai! ai!" imagine a farm girl who had never been exposed to a spanish speaker attempting to figure out the issue. was she in pain? not short of breath, obviously. didn't like to get wet? worried about her hairdo?

    as i attempted to figure out the problem, she began to shriek "agua freo! agua freo!" that wasn't helpful to me. i figured it would be best to just get the shower over and done with so i could get her back to her room and call the spanish interpreter.

    that's when i found out that "agua freo" is "cold water." i felt like a complete donkey.

    same lady, different day. she'd taken to screaming "ai! ai!" constantly, and no one, including the interpreter, could determine what the problem was. eventually, through the interpreter, we figured out that at least part of her issue was dementia. one day, when her son was visiting, she stood up and started to scream. i forget what the phrase was, but when he used it she abruptly sat down, snapped her mouth closed, and shut up. i was impressed.

    i explained to the son that i didn't speak spanish and wanted to know how to ask his mother to please sit down and be quiet as she was disturbing other patients. i was too young and stupid to wonder about the evil grin he flashed when he set about to teach me the phrase he'd use, complete with exact pronounciation. i dutifully learned exactly how to say it, and it worked like magic all through my 12 hour night shift. in the morning, as i was finishing up for the day, my patient began to climb out of bed and scream once again. after assessing and not finding anything wrong, i used the phrase i thought meant "please sit down and be quiet."

    about that time, the spanish interpreter walked into the room. her face went ashen and she asked me "do you have any idea what you just said?"

    "i said 'please sit down and be quiet,'" i told her. "mrs. martinez' son taught me how to say it."

    "no," she corrected. "what you actually did is told her to sit the (blank) down and shut the (blank) up, you pustulent whore."

    i was fortunate in the extreme that when my manager investigated the whole situation, the son bragged about having taught me that phrase. he thought it was a fabulous joke.
    JHU2016, bookworm78910, Vinniesguy, and 16 others like this.
  2. 0
    Ruby vee - that is too funny. Loved it!!
  3. 0
    Quote from ruby vee
    i've been practicing for a long time, yet i still remember vividly some of the dumb things i've done.

    when i first moved to the big city, i was asked to give a shower to an elderly lady who spoke spanish only. by pantomine, i was able to get the idea across that we were going to be washing her up. i gathered all of the supplies and got the shower room ready, and then i rolled my patient into the shower room in her wheelchair, transferred her to the shower chair without incident, and gowned and gloved up in order to keep myself relatively dry.

    as soon as i turned on the water, the patient started to scream "ai! ai! ai!" imagine a farm girl who had never been exposed to a spanish speaker attempting to figure out the issue. was she in pain? not short of breath, obviously. didn't like to get wet? worried about her hairdo?

    as i attempted to figure out the problem, she began to shriek "agua freo! agua freo!" that wasn't helpful to me. i figured it would be best to just get the shower over and done with so i could get her back to her room and call the spanish interpreter.

    that's when i found out that "agua freo" is "cold water." i felt like a complete donkey.

    same lady, different day. she'd taken to screaming "ai! ai!" constantly, and no one, including the interpreter, could determine what the problem was. eventually, through the interpreter, we figured out that at least part of her issue was dementia. one day, when her son was visiting, she stood up and started to scream. i forget what the phrase was, but when he used it she abruptly sat down, snapped her mouth closed, and shut up. i was impressed.

    i explained to the son that i didn't speak spanish and wanted to know how to ask his mother to please sit down and be quiet as she was disturbing other patients. i was too young and stupid to wonder about the evil grin he flashed when he set about to teach me the phrase he'd use, complete with exact pronounciation. i dutifully learned exactly how to say it, and it worked like magic all through my 12 hour night shift. in the morning, as i was finishing up for the day, my patient began to climb out of bed and scream once again. after assessing and not finding anything wrong, i used the phrase i thought meant "please sit down and be quiet."

    about that time, the spanish interpreter walked into the room. her face went ashen and she asked me "do you have any idea what you just said?"

    "i said 'please sit down and be quiet,'" i told her. "mrs. martinez' son taught me how to say it."

    "no," she corrected. "what you actually did is told her to sit the (blank) down and shut the (blank) up, you pustulent whore."

    i was fortunate in the extreme that when my manager investigated the whole situation, the son bragged about having taught me that phrase. he thought it was a fabulous joke.
    omg i am dying laughing
  4. 3
    Keep laughing and you will be fine.
    I started in ER, and had a 6 month orientation. First ICU patient I had all by myself, I was so excited, thought I did a great job, had all my tubes and lines nice and neat and orderly, all my meds given, patient was packed for ICU. I was nervous to take the patient to the unit since they never seem as darn pretty in the ER as they do when ICU nurses have 'em squared away--and I was sure the ICU RN would be impressed with the pretty package I was bringing up. He was on bipap and we had successfully kept him from being intubated, and was improving. Unfortunately, the patient was >400 lbs, and he had rocked back and forth for me so I could change the sheets under him and sneak a look at his backside skin, which is something us ER nurses sometimes are not great at. So I got him up there, gave bedside report, nurses were like "wow, you even have your lines labeled," and "wow, you have 2 x 16g IVs in him," and "all his meds are given," haha so I was very proud. I go back to the ED and a few minutes later get a call.
    "Hey, by the way, did his sacrum skin look okay?" asked the nurse. "Oh, yeah, sure, he rolled over for me & it looked great." "Oh, okay, just asking, cause I just pulled his wallet and glasses out of his buttcrack."
    Uhhhmm.....yeah. So now my patients don't get of the ER without a clear visual of their butt cracks.
    SBarn, mizfradd, and dbscandy like this.
  5. 4
    Actually you did one less stupid thing than you thought . Number 6 is what you would want to do in order to assess strength in the affected arm of your patient with R hemiparesis.
    Sparrowhawk, AmandaTheNurse, Deb123j, and 1 other like this.
  6. 4
    When I was orienting as a tech, my preceptor told me to 'pass ice' to all the patients. So, I dutifully filled the ice bags with ice and gave the bags to the patients. A nurse saw me do this, and, laughing, said, "And, just what do you think the patient will do with a bag of ice?" *Lightbulb* Oh....she means put it in their cup and fill the cup with water! Obviously, this is what she meant!

    Just showing how green I was....
    JHU2016, SBarn, ky_grl82, and 1 other like this.
  7. 2
    Sure hope that most of what you wrote is "being funny". Where were you during clinicals when the insulin syringe was hopefully learned. I would be very afraid to have someone like you caring for anyone in my hospital. I can understand the IV machine issues....but when I came off vacation and found that I could NOT remove an IV line from the pump...I found someone who showed me that we NOW had the new safety clamp. Also I knew enough to follow a line from pt to pump, etc. Yes, I did get peed upon....by an adult that was baby like. Kind of forgot about that issue as I did not work in peds or nursery.
    I guess my most strange thing that happened, while in school, I went into a male patients room. First thing noted was female breasts. I continued to assess and found the appropiate penis. I excused myself, found my instructer, and gave her a good laugh. This man was being treated with female hormones for his cancer...there for explaining the breasts.
    I have also tripped over family sleeping on the floor,tripped over a standing wheelchair scale...receiving a score for least graceful of 9.5 from my two patients.
    I would hope that you can get supervised practice with the equiptment you will be using, and practice on your own with supplies that are not needed for patients. Right now you are DANGEROUS!
    Sparrowhawk and pedspnp like this.
  8. 0
    It gets easier...hang in there!

    And #6 is not a mistake...you should always assess your patient and see for yourself what they are capable of. There have been many times I have received report on a patient that can not do xyz and when I ask them to do it, they can do xyz. Also some movement/dexterity can come back.

    It is alright to laugh at yourself as long as noone gets hurt and you catch the error before passing it on to the patient. I am hoping that when you made some of the "best" mistakes you reevaluated where you went wrong and have learned from them.

    Best wishes!
  9. 9
    I can see why Us New Nurses love our first year of nursing. Such a supportive. Veteran crowd to mentor us. Lighten up. This is funny stuff.

    The joint commission didn't just yesterday start regulating "everything". It due to patterns of errors. And bad processes that brings this.

    You wanna see some real comedy of errors. Watch a code blue on any non critical care floor. Or the ER try to deliver a baby

    I thought this was a humor thread
  10. 8
    I pushed air into a carpoject vial before drawing out the med. The lil rubber stopper sailed across the ED. Oops. (disclaimer-- no patients visitors staff or small animals were harmed)
    silverbat, RunnerRN2b2014, diva rn, and 5 others like this.


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