4 med errors in one shift... Feeling terrible - page 2

by NurseLoveJoy88 9,190 Views | 26 Comments

today the nursing supervisor wrote me up for 4 med errors i made in one shift. i feel incompetent, stupid, and sad at the same time. i don't believe the errors were life threatening but still nervous that it may cost me my job... Read More


  1. 2
    Not sure what type of area you work in or your client load but I believe that this is bound to happen to anyone/everyone. Facilities expect no errors even with a client load of 10+. This just doesn't make sense. As a current nursing student I just feel that staffing levels are just unsafe. This is with the 10 hospitals I have been to. While hospitals are making cuts to save money they do not take in consideration hours worked, rest periods, stress, or outside issues. If staffing issues were competent then I guarantee errors would not occur. Magnet status or not, there must be over-sufficient staff. This is life and death, you would think state's would take this more seriously. Seriously being staff numbers, not by JCAHO coming in and pointing out minute errors. Hospitals like any other business pushes employees to the breaking point thus creating inevitable opportunity for errors. What do they expect? Wouldn't it be nice if employers/managers/supervisors/officials would actually take the time to explore the floor and ask staff about their mental/cognitive stress level? There needs to be a better system, period.
    Gold_SJ and Psychtrish39 like this.
  2. 2
    Possibly try home health its a 1:1 situation.
    Psychtrish39 and fiveofpeep like this.
  3. 1
    I know I used to dream about this sort of thing. I was always terrified of med errors. I will say that in LTC it is impossible to be on time when you have so many patients on so many meds. When I worked in the hospital it was usually a matter of things being late because of interruptions/emergencies. They gave us 1/2hr before or after the due time to help, but PRNs have to be in the correct time span.

    I feel for you and I can see how this could happen on a bad shift. Many times nurses cover up their mistakes unless they endanger the patient. Research has shown this. When you are so overloaded all the time it is hard not to. If everyone reported every little technical med error it would be a nightmare.

    These sound like errors from rushing, carelessness. For whatever reason. I hope the DON is understanding with you. Hopefully they will put you on some sort of remediation program. Maybe you do need to reconsider your area though. Some people are better at certain things like juggling med schedules.

    Best of luck.
    Psychtrish39 likes this.
  4. 13
    Honey, we have all talked with you in the past. You seem to be in trouble, something's wrong. You were a LPN before you were an RN and you have been a RN for about 2 years, right? You have said in the past that you have "serious mental health issues" you need to see your provider. Something is amiss, maybe you need your meds adjusted or changed.

    Your anxiety is getting the better of you......I'm concerned . It seems to be escalating. If you see EAP is should be for your mental health not career counseling. Your have time invested in this career, don't throw it all away. Get healthy! Deal with what has gone awry.

    I agree with Merriwhen, you are distracted about something. With the supervisor writing you up they are watching you....you need to act now and get healthy.....find out what is wrong and get better. These mistakes are no big deal IF they were the only ones you have made, but they're not and it was 4 in a shift and if I am reading your post it is 3 prn's involved here. The too can set off red flags with your DON.

    We care........get the help you need
    Last edit by Esme12 on Feb 22, '12
    Epic_RN, leslie :-D, CapeCodMermaid, and 10 others like this.
  5. 1
    I hope everything goes well for you! Although it doesn't erase our personal accountability, I feel like our work environment contributes significantly to us making errors, especially med errors. I have had a lot of days where if I hadn't checked my orders at least 10 times I would have made med errors like confusing whose pain med was due when or the doctor sneaking in an order to change/discontinue the pain med and not seeing it for a few hours. Just know you're not alone. I feel like the worst nurse in the world sometimes and like no other nurse makes mistakes, and we're all so paranoid at my work people would rather die than own up to making mistakes. Best of luck!
    notpuurfctbtgdenghns likes this.
  6. 3
    Wow Meriwhen...I wish I had gotten this advice some 30 years ago it would have saved me much heartbreak! I had those issues you mentioned and should have taken time off to address them and give myself needed healing time but alas the 20s decade must keep moving! Even if I had spent 6 months in one place nurturing myself the way I should have been would have helped. Wise advise!
    leslie :-D, GrnTea, and Esme12 like this.
  7. 0
    I haven't seen the OP posts before concerning other problems but from what you've written besides the obvious of seeking personal help for whatever anxiety issues you have, I see a time management problem and a focusing problem.

    I am terrified, terrified of making med errors. All through nursing school and clinicals this always stayed in the back of my mind to the point of overchecking things sometimes.

    You may want to model after some nurses who get their meds done on time or/and come up with a routine for you to accomplish this. I know with the patient load sometimes it's impossible.

    Check, check and triple check your orders. Make it a routine to check the pt chart for doctors orders, i.e specifically changes, it's ok not to respond to others when pulling meds, distractions can cause you to make an error.

    I've seen nurses take out meds for more than one patient and put them in their pockets (not saying that you did that) but focus on one pat at a time

    I don't know your method but try to rexamine your method when pulling and giving meds and see if you can improve it.

    Regarding the supervisor, odds are they are or will be watching you closely. it's ok to ask for clarification of an order is not clear.

    Feel better and try not to beat yourself up too much but definitely use this opportunity to figure out what's wrong and to improve.
  8. 0
    First of all, receive a warm hug from across the miles... I'm very concern on your behalf after reading all previous post. Therefore, I would seriously suggest to please take care of yourself first, in order to take care of others. Having said that, obviously, you have admitted that you have a problem with concentration when other people distract you, while your dealing with patients meds. However, whatever the case maybe, you need to slow down and try to get a better routine while dealing with meds. In addition, don't forget to seek counseling or whatever you chose, in order to have a better grasp of your situation. Lastly, always remember the Golden Rules when administering meds. please keep us up to date on your progress... Always wishing you the very best...Aloha~
  9. 0
    NurseLoveJoy,
    It may be the area you are working in as well it sounds like LTC . I started to have issues like this when I was becoming ill ( just thought I was tired due to workload) and what helped me is that I got out of bedside staff nursing. I am an oversight RN at a facility and do testing for home care aides and while it is not hands on care per se with medication admin and treatments my years of experience as a staff nurse gave me great assessment skills. I am not making the money I was when working LTC or in the hospitals but I am still helping patients and residents and healthcare and feeling good about my career again . I was to the point of not wanting to be a nurse anymore. I realize now my mind was not suited to the pace and distraction of constant interruptions. That is what causes medication errors nine times out of ten.
    To give you a frame of reference my last LTC job I fainted at work due to being anemic was sent out by my coworkers to local ER for evaluation and I was wrote up for 2 med errors because I did not give a medication because I was not there to give it I was in the ER and did not return to work that shift. The nurse that took my patients the rest of the shift didn't catch it either but why would she with her 26 and then my 26 when management wouldn't come in and help. I guess what I am saying look at the big picture and change the environment if getting help for yourself doesnt help you. I am loving nursing again and why I became a nurse. Good luck to you and keep us updated. :heartbeat
    Last edit by Psychtrish39 on Feb 22, '12 : Reason: spelling
  10. 9
    you don't want to keep getting this kind of attention.

    no matter what the work situation is, what you are (again) describing has nothing to do with it. i am assuming that all the other nurses in your cohort are not making errors at this rate; if they were, the managers would be making wholesale changes. i understand the kind impulse to say, "honey, it's not your fault, the work situation is to blame, work on your basic med administration skills," but that is not therapeutic communication, and we'd never let ourselves do it with an identified patient; no growth or movement towards health will come of moving the focus of attention away from the identified patient. at this point, that's you.

    i agree that the eap is a place to start, but i also agree that it is not career counseling you need. if ever in your past counseling history you learned to look honestly at yourself, now is the time to pull out that skill and apply it again. it does sound as if you cannot do this yourself, without professional help. take the attention you got from this experience as a wake-up call, a learning experience, a red flag, or a warning, and do so seriously.

    good luck, and let us hear that you are taking positive steps with the right kind of help, in person, with someone who can see your face and hear the timbre of your voice. while we might care, we cannot care for you. see someone who can.
    not.done.yet, Epic_RN, leslie :-D, and 6 others like this.


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