Medication Error

  1. So I have a friend who made a medication error today. She did not realise nightshift had administered one patients meds at 7am and she gave them again at 10am, she did not realise until after. No harm came to the patient, he was checked regularly through the day.

    she did not report the error as she is terrified she will be struck off. Unfortunately the night nurse is likely to notice the error overnight. She is back in, in the morning and is terrified to face the consequences. She is so humiliated and ashamed. If the error goes unnoticed then she is likely to quit nursing as she feels incompetent. If it is discovered then she is likely to be struck off, she thinks.

    surely the main thing is that no harm came to the patient? She is extremely upset with herself. Any advice would be appreciated.

    she is a newly qualified nurse and is very scared.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   JustBeachyNurse
    No, the bigger error is that she failed to report the error. It will likely be discovered and she will have issues explaining why she concealed her mistake. Nurses are human we make mistakes. Failing to come forward, regardless if harm came to the patient, is huge. There has to be a systems failure somewhere...did barcode not scan right, was the night shift entry not apparent, did she override a safety mechanism, did she not follow the 5/7/9/11 (depending on where you work) rights if medication administration?

    She needs to contact her supervisor ASAP and admit to what happened. It does not matter that the patient had no ill effects. Failure to report is a failure to meet a basic standard of patient care.
  4. by   JustBeachyNurse
    They will likely be less harsh if she comes forward now
  5. by   Been there,done that
    .Failing to report is not ethical.. whether or not the patient was harmed.

    After all.. this is all about the patient, not the nurse. Hopefully she is in a facility that will remediate the situation, if not..
  6. by   june2009
    I agree with the other nurses who replied. Not reporting a med error, regardless if the patient was fine is not o.k. as the ADON of a skilled nursing facility, I rarely write someone up as a disciplinary action. I usually do a "teaching" form. Especially if it's a new nurse. I don't want my nurses to be afraid to tell the supervisor of a med error. There are many reasons it's important to report an error. The first is for or. Safety and to make sure the resident doesn't have any problems. Another reason is so the error can be investigated so that further errors can be prevented. Maybe the way we chart is confusing or we need a better identification system for our residents and the new nurse got them mixed up.
    A nurse who reports a med error is trustworthy and a nurse that doesn't report their error has questionable morals.
  7. by   thenightnurse456
    The "friend" really should have reported it, even if no harm came to the patient..

    Med errors happen. People are human. This one didn't hurt the patient.

    Even when stressed and busy check check check.
  8. by   rhapsodyinblue
    Thank you so much for all the advice. My friend came clean and reported the incident, and surprisingly the world didn't end and she wasn't struck off. I think it all built up in her head to be much worse than it actually was.

    anyway, her manager helped her learn from the experience and she is grateful for all your support!
  9. by   TriciaJ
    The main reason we hate reporting errors is because we don't want to look bad. But many errors are not caused by the individual; they are system errors that were in progress long before the hapless nurse came along and completed the error. The reason for reporting errors is to identify any glitches in the system that make errors more likely. It's to everyone's advantage (especially the patient) that errors get reported. Many facilities now have a non-punitive approach to people reporting errors, so that system errors can be fixed.
  10. by   locolorenzo22
    We hate to look incompetent. But this is bigger. It's about doing right by the patient, not your own selfish needs. When it is discovered, it will be reported. such is life. Have her come forward now.

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