I work in a state psychiatric hospital,. 3rd shift, where I made a very serious med error. The patient involved is non-verbal with no wristband or identification. We are to have an aide as patient identifier on the med line but we are always short staffed so we never do. There were two RN's on that morning but one had been asleep in the break room since 2AM and the other was in the day room with the patients.
As I said, I confused two patients. Their photos are very similar and they look very much alike. I gave the full slate of psych meds to the wrong patient plus 40 units Novolin N- he was a non diabetic.
Twenty minutes after this happened, I was looking through the MAR when I realized my mistake. I checked the two clients, was assured of my error and reported it to the charge nurse. The nurse who was in the day room felt we should cover the error, an option I had already discarded when I reported the error to her. I have seen other nurses do that and it seems to sour their practice long after the incident.
Anyway, the nurse who had been sleeping for most the shift came and she filled out the med error report' I was in tears. The doctors came and the patient was fine- he had hourly blood sugars and vital signs with no reading out of norml for 24 hours. For a week, I heard nothing. Then i got the news that I was being removed from the med room and would be working as an aide until further notice. This has been going on for two weeks. Though I feel I'm being tortured I don't dispute that I made the error and I should have some consequence, though this seems extreme.
At that time the head of nursing said that I would need to get more training and that would be the end of the incident, but two days later, she resigned(under pressure). Her #2 told the union that I should be subject to 10 days suspension in addition to the training.
I can't tell you how upset I am. I am at work every night and am humiliated to have to be working as an aide- though I am being paid my full salary. I have been told that it would be a mistake to leave while this is going on.
I have been an LPN for one year. I am currently doing my last two courses to qualify to enter an LPN to RN program. I feel I've thrown everything away.
EVERYONE at this job thinks it will make me feel better if they tell me about similar errors they have made and covered up. Some have sent clients to the hospital. I am horrified. I do not want to be that type of nurse but clearly the treatment I am getting demonstrates that there is no encouragement for reporting med errors. What am I doing in this place?
I've stayed at this job because it is 5 minutes from home, has excellent benefits and pays for my education 100%. I was in line for a full scholarship at full salary for my RN program but obviously that is out the window.
Any words of wisdom?