Major med error

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    This thread is about a mistake i made nearly a year ago. At the time i was about 6 months in to being a grad nurse. Where i work they do team nursing - 2 nurses working together to look after 8 surgical patients. My partner was on break, it was the patients dinner time and i had a pt return to the ward post-op and a new admission. In the middle of this chaos i remembered i needed to give pt B their insulin. I gave the substantial dose of insulin to pt A, a diabetic pt not on insulin. I recognised the problem shortly after, notified the nurse in charge and doctors immediately and apologised to the pt profusely. The pt was understandably very angry at first but later tried to comfort ME and said 'mistakes happen". the pt recieved IV glucose and hourly BSLS o/n without any hypos or adverse events. The pt was even discharged the following afternoon. I felt like dying that night. I came to this profession to help people not potentially kill them. I returned to work the next day with the attitude that i wanted to show everyone i was in fact a competent nurse and get on with my job, i really needed to convince myself. years of education had drilled into me the 5 rights the 5 rights the 5 rights and in one brief moment of overwhelming stupidity i threw it out the window and seriously compromised a pt. The ward staff were almost overbearing at the time with 'dont worry mistakes happen', 'we dont think any different of you' and 'hey, no one died' - thats scary isnt it? in our profession the highest form of reassurance is non one died. i just wanted to sink into the very biggest deepest hole i could find and stay there indeffinently. I was so humiliated and terrified by how seriously bad things could have been, i thought everyone would think so much less of me and wouldnt trust me to do my job . Some days now, when I'm at work and a pt compliments me on my abilities or i feel good at work the memory of that day floats back and reminds of the nurse i was in that moment, the nurse i will not allow myself to be again. I suppose I'm using this thread for some support, i'm hoping someone will tell me 'hey, you're not a bad nurse' and i'm hoping i'll believe them. I love my job, i care so deeply about my pts and i need to move on from this incident. I know that i am valued by my colleagues and patients, but as of yet, nearly one year on, i find it hard to value myself
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    If you are having problems moving on, perhaps you should think about counseling. I see your co-workers as being supportive. Yes, sometimes you do have to tell yourself that no one died. It's not out of a lack of concern or not taking the situation seriously, but because sometimes you need to think that way in order to keep from being immobilized by the error.
    PatchycatRN, dpcRN, imintrouble, and 1 other like this.
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    We have all made mistakes unfortunately some are worse than others. It doesn't change how we feel when we make a mistake. I am sure you learned a valuable lesson and those are the best if we can learn by them. It doesn't make you a bad nurse. I agree with the previous post and perhaps some counseling to help you sort your feelings. Guilt is the enemy!
    ToothFairy(5) and imintrouble like this.
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    Nursing is a profession that when you make a mistake especially a medication error you can cause serious harm and even death. You cannot not let the knowledge of that fact or fear because of it paralyze you or limit your professional growth. You need to use to propel you forward. You need to always examine the events that caused the error and take steps to prevent them. Some of causes you may have control over and others you do not. If there are system problems that you cannot fix you need to develop your own strategies to prevent problems. Many health care organizations are going to bar code scanning and that drastically reduces these types of errors as does safe nurse to patient ratios

    So review what happened objectively and write down what you are going to to in the future to prevent it. Then educate yourself be reading some great articles on preventing medication errors and move forward and continue to learn and grow because staying paralyzed does nothing for anyone!
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    You took action immediately and you have obviously LEARNED from it. The reality is that those are the only 2 things that matter. And unfortunately sometimes it's what makes us BETTER. Move on and do not let this burden you any longer. The fact of the matter is that the pt. IS alive and well BECAUSE you recognized and reported your mistake. Almost ALL nurses will have a med error of varying degrees, a good nurse learns from that mistake and takes measures to ensure it does not happen again which is exactly what you have done.
    ToothFairy(5) and dpcRN like this.
  8. 0
    You are a human being, not a robot. The mistake that was made will stay with you forever, which is not a bad thing. You've got to use it to learn from, not paralyze you with fear. Something like this doesn't make you a bad nurse and you took all the right steps after it happened. Being so hard on yourself this long after it happened will crush your confidence. It's easier said than done, but you've got to do whatever it takes to "move" that moment to a more positive place in your brain so that you're able to get past it and view it as a learning experience versus a hindrance.


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