Lost my Confidence :(

  1. I need some insight into how to let go of something that happened to me recently.

    First, just a bit of background. I have been a L&D nurse for many years. I have been wrong on VE's a few times as every L&D nurse. I look for something to learn from my mistakes and move on.

    Recently, I had a very difficult labor (primip) that required INTENSE coaching from the time she arrived until delivery. Epidural was not even effective for this young lady. She continued to scream and thrash until finally I did a VE and felt no cervix. Called MD and he said start pushing, he would be right there.

    After less than 10 min pushing I checked and things did not feel normal. Stopped pushing and called MD. MD arrived and found swollen cervix. I was devastated as I have honestly never had a mama push too soon before.

    Baby born from OA position a couple of hours later with vacuum assist. Mom and baby in good condition. Mom did have a rather nasty tear but no other obvious complication to either.


    Here's my problem. I am terrified of having a labor patient now.....
    I feel inept and unsure of my skills. I am afraid my pts will "somehow" know I messed up and will not relax and trust me anymore. How can I expect them to trust me if I no longer trust myself?
    I have talked to my manager and the doctor who both told me to forget it and move on. But I can't seem to forgive myself. Help me.


    I am ready to work at Burger King now.



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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   irish6363
    Nurturing -angel, I think you are being very hard on yourself. You know that not every labor and delivery is the same and there are times when things can go wrong... Nothing here went irreversibly wrong. Perhaps what is damaged is your ego. If you are a highly capable nurse who has always been successful it is had to cope when things do not go well and the outcome is less than the absolute best. You have very good high standards which is why you feel so bad... You expect only the best from your work and that can stress you out. My suggestion is that you use this occasion to learn that there are things beyond our control and your capacity as an RN is just as strong if not better now. Learn from each and every patient. You have now broadened your L&D experiences, see it that way. Do not take the incident in a negative way use it in a POSITIVE way. I hope this helps at least a little. Would like some french fries with that??
    Last edit by irish6363 on Jun 3, '08
  4. by   classicdame
    If you are a spiritual person you can thank God that you had a dramatic learning experience with no lasting ill effects on someone else. There is no such thing as perfection, but I applaud you for trying. Remember, if you leave then all your caring and knowledge will be lost to future mothers and babies.
  5. by   Jolie
    Quote from classicdame
    If you are a spiritual person you can thank God that you had a dramatic learning experience with no lasting ill effects on someone else. There is no such thing as perfection, but I applaud you for trying. Remember, if you leave then all your caring and knowledge will be lost to future mothers and babies.
    I love the way you think! Thank you for a nice post!
  6. by   cherokeesummer
    I agree with the above, we all make mistakes and the baby and mom are fine and were able to deliver vaginally. HUGS!
  7. by   irish6363
    Nurturing-angel, I was just adding humor with my french fry comment OK :chuckle
  8. by   mianders
    I worked in a small rural hospital when I started in nursing and we had to work all areas including L&D. I had much the same situation as yours happen to me too. My problem was that no matter how often I did VE's, and no matter how often I had it explained to me, I never got the hang of it. I felt very incompetent about the situation. I eventually left this small hospital and never did L&D again. I went into emergency nursing and loved it. Best of luck.
  9. by   Salgal08
    Hi, you sound like a humble person and I think you did the right thing by talking with your manager and the doctor. As someone else said, we've all made mistakes. No one is perfect! I encourage you to hang in there, you sound very consciensious and honest. Your needed in L&D! Remind yourself of all the successes you've had.
  10. by   valmack
    I'm in your boat too - several years in L&D, and ever since I learned to do SVE's, I've prided myself in being accurate and even in being able to find the cervix "way back in her tonsils" if you know what I mean - and I too recently had this happen. I checked a patient and could not feel any cervix or margins, so I got the whole delivery team in the room, called the doc in, she got dressed, ready to catch because 'mom' was feeling that great urge - only to discover we were only 6 cms! ACK :imbar

    I was mortified, felt very foolish, and wanted to crawl in a hole. I was so lucky this happened with a 'nice doc' instead of one of the primadonnas, and I'm also glad it happened to me now after all this time, just to give me a reality check. Like the other poster said, we're not perfect - and even during a routine procedure, we may not be right.

    I'm also glad it happened with this much time under my belt, because had this happened early in my career, I might not have handled it nearly so well. Yes, I'm a former "cryer" - a defense mechanism from embarrassment or criticism or feeling of ineptitude. It might have ran me off from the whole game if it had happened way back when.

    It's not easy for you to 'let it go' - but your manager and the doc are right - move on, and chalk it up to a reminder that you're human. I'll bet you're going to be very 'spot on' with those SVE's now!

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