Multiple medication errors - page 2

by Chasity2495

7,889 Visits | 19 Comments

I am 5 months into nursing and have made multiple errors. When I say multiple, I mean 6 total; 3 while orienting and 3 while on my own. Last night was a biggie. I work on an very busy oncology unit in a teaching hospital with... Read More


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    Med errors are serious and also a firing offense even if no one got hurt. SO no matter what happens when giving meds take your time, do your 3 checks and 6 rights. Make a checklist for yourself and a written process and follow it exactly every day this forces you to slow down and run the checks, which are intended to catch errors. focus on your med checks preferably away from distractions. They can't fire you for being slow but can if you make med errors. No one will back you up saying oh she was so busy or had pt emergency just that you messed up and they company must protect themselves by firing you who is now a risk to the company. As a new grad we're slow, none too efficient, and feel like we have to rush to try to do everything that needs to be done by closing time and still end up staying late.
  2. 0
    Paper mars are a big cause of errors IMO for many reasons. Not that you won't make an error with computer charting but they do decrease the risk.
  3. 0
    Some great advice given by previous posters... ALWAYS take your time and double check or triple check, no matter how busy or rushed you feel. The times I have made an error (or came close), is when I felt super rushed. Remind yourself, when a thought crosses your mind questioning a med or an order or anything, stop and listen to that thought and address it. It is a terrible feeling, to say the least, when you catch an error or close error involving a medication because that error usually could have been avoided very easily. I know that feeling because I've done it several times in my short nursing career. The good thing about any mistake, you learn from it! Best of luck to you!
  4. 0
    We all make mistakes. At least you were upfront and didn't try to hide anything. I'm sure your integrity is one of many reasons why your employer sees your potential and has given you another chance. Hopefully this last error was your "wake up call". We have ALL had them... sometimes it's an actual error, sometimes a near miss. There've been a couple of occasions where I almost made a very serious mistake and caught it at the last minute. Another good reason to do that last check right before giving the medication.

    Mistakes will happen, just make absolutely sure you understand why they were made, and learn what you can do to change your practice to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself.
  5. 0
    I have a question and I know that I'm just a student and I don't know how stressful it is to be a nurse, etc but why didn't you check the pts arm band? I'm not asking this in an accusing way.
  6. 0
    Quote from danceyrun
    I have a question and I know that I'm just a student and I don't know how stressful it is to be a nurse, etc but why didn't you check the pts arm band? I'm not asking this in an accusing way.
    Good question. I have made a few med errors in my career. One quite serious. Luckily, the pt was fine. I can't speak for OP, but in my case I was rushing because I was behind and had a ton of interruptions. Nurses, like all people, are not perfect. In my opinion EMARs are much safer, but still not mistake-proof.

    OP-I am glad pts were ok. I would try to regroup and move on. Good luck to you!
  7. 0
    in LTC, per shift, there are maybe 500-1000 meds to give. is it logical to assume there are not lots of errors, every shift? No. There are. Every shift, every cart, every nurse. They only get outed during survey, usually, however...or by a fellow nurse with vengeance on her mind.
  8. 0
    I have been a nurse for a little over a year and this is a difficult job. I'm still learning everyday and have a million questions I wonder about all the time. It's great that you are honest and I can tell you are passionate, just learn from your mistakes, take your time, and double check everything. Just curious, are you able to plan your shift? When I go to work, after I do my round I glance through the MAR and write down the times my patient's meds are due on the report sheet by their name so that I have an idea and kind of plan how I will pass my meds. Also on the report sheet I make little task boxes with what I have to do so that I can get multiple things done at once/cluster care, ex: give medication, take vitals, obtain urine specimen, do wound treatment all together. It really helps me get things done fast to just group everything at once (when possible) with each patient. And sometimes it helps to tell the patient you will be in their room at so-so time so that they can expect you and not get caught up doing other things, I noticed some of them won't push the call light every 5 min for stupid stuff if they know you will be in there soon to help them (= less distractions) and some of my patients will even give me a heads up of what PRN meds they will want at that time, so less going back and fourth.

    I'm sure you will figure things out. Best of luck!
  9. 0
    Wow! I wish I read this a few months ago when I was going through the same thing. I have been nursing for 4 years but I started in
    Hospice. I recently started floor nursing and boy is it different. I made a huge med error. Instead of giving sub-cue heparin I pushed it in the line of a pt who was just out of big back surgery. I have struggled because being a seasoned nurse I am expected to "know better". Keep your chin up. We all make mistakes. The good thing is that you had the opportunity to learn this lesson and did not hurt the pt. I bet you will never make it again. Hang in there.
  10. 0
    Nurses who say they've never made a meds error scare the heck out of me! Every single one of us has made a meds error at some point. I once gave a patient all of his late afternoon meds again after another nurse forgot to sign that she'd given them in his 'weekend at home" meds pack. I asked him and he said he hadn't been given them. He had and he had taken them.

    The pharmacy sent two packets of an abx. Same drug but vastly different doses. Both patients named "Mary" and one "Smith" and the other "Simon." Fake names. I switched packets by mistake.

    I became very careful after that.


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