My best orientation mistakes

  1. 33
    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

    10)__ Tried to hook up an IV antibiotic with kangaroo (g-tube) tubing!

    9)__ Unhooked a suprapubic catheter to flush without pinching the tube. Hello pee! I love pee!....just not on my shirt and shoes.

    8)__ Tried to draw up insulin in a 60 cc syringe using an 18 gauge needle!

    7)__ Stood around feeling really clueless.

    6)__ Asked a s/p CVA pt. with right sided paresis to squeeze my hand....with her right hand.

    5)__ Hid in the bathroom when asked to flush that dang suprapubic catheter again.

    4)__ Had daily fights and arguments with the IV pump. "There is no freakin air bubbles you stupid machine I finally did it right this time. Stop beeping!!!"

    3)__ Said to a Pt: "I really like how your penis looks". so embarrassing....but at least the ulcer on it is healing!

    2)__ Hid in the bathroom for 14A's flush again......

    1)__ Tripped and fell into a Pt's bed landing pretty much fully on top of him! talk about a laugh.

    I have never felt so stupid, clumsy and DIS-oriented ever in my life as I have in the last 4 weeks of orientation.
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 15, '10

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  2. 61 Comments...

  3. 0
    eeeek!!! Thanks for showing me what i have to look forward to!
  4. 6
    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!
    bookworm78910, cogath, TJMICHAEL, and 3 others like this.
  5. 9
    Very funny! And humbling-- thanks for sharing what I will be looking forward to.

    My own story of being a clutz was when I was caring for a pt in ICU who was very very ill. His wife was coping by reading her Bible and had put a beautiful and large angel statue on his bedside table. I moved it to a shelf but it ended up back on the table, and she told me as long as this angel was watching over him he would be okay. Well . . you can see where this is going. I was trying to mix some powder antibiotics into that IV piggyback thing that is so hard to do, and I fumbled and flipped the bottle off, and caught it, and knocked the angel off in the process. The wife had a look of shock on her face, and I apologized about 1000 times and she said it was okay. But I could tell it shook her.

    The next week I went back and the patient was not in his room. My first thought was that he had passed away, and I could just see his wife saying, "I knew it was over when the nursing student broke his guardian angel." Luckily I found out later he had improved and been transferred to another unit!!
    silverbat, cogath, whichone'spink, and 6 others like this.
  6. 0
    OMG! I can imagine the look of horror! I bump into stuff each time I go into a room. Our rooms are like broom closets for crying out loud! Broken angel on the floor is just too metaphoric for words.
  7. 16
    Although it was not a "mistake" so much as a cultural conflict/misunderstanding, the orientation goof I always recall most vividly happened after I relocated to a small town in Appalachia to work in inpatient psych. All the other nursing staff on the unit were local people, and I was considered quite a colorful oddity (having come from a place they considered a "big city") but I was working hard to try to fit in and get along with everyone. One day early on, I asked the two techs working with me that shift to do something, I forget what, but something that was clearly within their job description and appropriate and ordinary for them to do. They both looked me right in the eye, smiled brightly, and said, "I don't care to."

    Where I came from, growing up around "nice" ladies from "nice" families (and everywhere else I'd lived since then), "I don't care to" was the polite, ladylike way of saying "no." I was completely flabbergasted. I remember clearly standing there, frantically thinking, "OMG! I asked them to do something perfectly reasonable and they both flatly refused! Rank insubordination!! I don't remember this being discussed in my management class -- what exactly do I do now??????" I got all huffy, drew myself up to my full 6', and said, "Well, alright then, I'll do it myself!" and stomped off and did whatever it was. I spent the rest of the morning wondering what kind of crazy situation I had gotten myself into, were the techs this rude and insubordinate with the other RNs or was it just me (because I was new and from somewhere else), wondering what I had done wrong in the first place and what I should have done differently, etc., etc., etc.

    It was only much later that day (or maybe the following day) that I found out that, at least in this particular area of Appalachia, "I don't care to" means "yes" (the equivalent of "sure, I don't mind" where I came from) -- and they had spent the rest of the day wondering why I'd reacted so strangely to their saying that yes, they'd do what I had asked, and how crazy, exactly, was this new nurse from "off."

    I did survive and even learned, over time, to fit in. I came to love the area so much that I still live here >25 years later (and have become familiar with all the local idioms ). But I still always remember that moment, and the blind panic I felt when they both said brightly, "I don't care (pronounced "keer") to", whenever anyone talks about embarassing moments in orientation (or "cultural competency in nursing" ) ...
    Roy Fokker, Hygiene Queen, noyesno, and 13 others like this.
  8. 3
    I have done some stupid things in the last month or so after finishing orientation. I still cringe when I think about them!

    1) Nurse A tells me she is going on break and to get patient 7A onto a stretcher for an x-ray when they call down for the patient. Unit clerk tells me they are ready for the patient in 7. I get another nurse and we prepare 7B for the x-ray and the transporter takes them down (why didn't I just first make sure!). 15 minutes later, I get a call and get yelled at for sending the wrong patient and wasting their time. I feel so embarrassed when the nurse returns and finds the patients test will be delayed. I bet she will never trust me again.

    2) I clearly have an issue with tests/procedures. I come onto the shift and right as i'm taking notes for report, my patient is needed for an abdominal ultrasound. I agree to have them ready for pick-up. I go into the room, assess them and set up the stretcher. Patient gets sent down. I get called to the phone. Unit clerk on the ultrasound department "Why is your patient's TPN still running? All we need is normal saline running." Again, I could have died right there.

    I know it will take practice and silly mistakes to really learn but I just pray each shift I don't do something miserable. At the end of it all, I still love my job so I guess it's not completely awful!
  9. 6
    We have all done some silly things. As a new ED nurse, I managed to get more activated charcoal on me than in the patient. However, I wonder if this wasn't made up. A medication mistake (or choosing the wrong equipment) is no laughing matter, perhaps some of the comments were for comedic value. Some of those errors would have flunked a 101 student.
  10. 8
    While on the surface some of this is funny many thing like the IV to tube feeding and the insulin error have truly been done and cost the life of pt. actions like this have caused TJC to regulate everything we do. Please think before you act and before you post on public forum. There are people out ther who will believe anything they read on the net.
  11. 0
    Whew, had a shift from hell yesterday. From getting lost on the unit several times, not being able to locate supplies and unable to navigate new computer system that was upgraded recently. I am a new grad resource nurse so I float to different units all the time. Yesterday was my first day on this particular unit and I was assigned a 'resource nurse' to guide me if necessary. Guess what resource nurse called in sick so I was actually replacing her. To start off I was on unfamiliar grounds, I had pts in contact and droplet isolation who had a myriad a test going on all day, a pt with chest tube and a pt who knows the system very well. Needless to say by the end of the shift I was frazzled. I was running an antibiotics when my pt started yelling that she was numb along one side of her body seeing yellow and all the other symptoms of an allergic reaction. I tried to remain calm and confident; stop meds, did vitals check for hives and flushed her line with NS. Reassessed over 15 mins and restarted meds after speaking to charge nurse.When I went to check on meds NS was infusing instead of meds. I was like what is going on. On further assessment I figured that my well versatile pt reset the pump and had saline infusing instead of meds. I was already frazzled for the day and this just sent me over the edge I was like do I really want to do this?
    I hope it will improve very soon or else I will be building public policies instead of being at the bedside.

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