Apology to Nursing Staff


Here is what happened: I was doing something that required a sterile field and my nurse was watching to ensure I did things properly, she stopped me and said I made a mistake- I obviously didnt know what the mistake was so I asked her to please tell me what I did wrong so I can correct it before I try again. I thought that was the logical thing to do otherwise I likely would have just made the same mistake twice. THIS exchange led to the complaint that I was challenging her authority and expertise. I checked in with her repeatedly throughout the day to offer my help with other patients and updates with mine- she said all was fine and i even helped clean and take vitals for her other 2 patients. Well now I am put in the situation where becuase of the formal written complaint against me I have to write an aplogy to the entire nursing staff for being unprofessional. I am recounting this day repeatedly in my head and if i knew I was offensive and she told me so I would have absolutely apologized, it was never my intent. Instead she turned this into a huge thing- forget that she kept admitting and apologizing to me throughout the day becuase she felt bad for not going into HER patients room (the one i was with). Here was what was listed for complaints against me (some accusations that are false):

- lack of professionlism with communication- challenging the nurses authority and knowledge

- accusation that I lied and did not complete assessments or adls with patietns

- I was lazy and did not seek out to help (i helped my fellow nursing students with there patients and other nurses throughout the day!)

- incomplete charting (again I asked them to check my charting to make sure I was on track and was told everything looked perfect)

My faculty was also surprised becuase she has only recieved praise for my performance this far so to have not just one but a laundry list of complaints against me was shocking. As far as an apology goes, I dont know what to say, it's all very surprising. Any help you guys have in what I should include and how to state things- I unknowingly apparently offended this nurse and dont want to come across in any other way except truly regretful about this whole situation.

Thanks everyone for your insight and suggests!

I would request mediation between this clinical instructor and your chair before you apologize. An apology here in my mind admits that you were in the wrong and accept that. GL, I hope this turns out well for you.


53 Posts

I agree I would definitely meet with my clinical instructor and program director (idk what other type of chain of command your school has) and tell them of the whole conversation. If your forced to write an apology I would say something to the affect that I am sorry that my comment was taken out of context that my inquisitiveness wasn't meant to question that nurses authority or expertise, it was soley based on me trying to figure out my mistake.

I hate you have to even write anything, I am more of a talker and like to have face to face communication with issues. I hate when people are like that, I just don't think nurses have the time to beat around the bush about crap, if you said something offensive to her she should have said something directly to you. And I have asked questions just like you in similar situations, never even thought I would be taken offensively.

Best of luck to you :D


240 Posts

If you have to write an apology, I think you've made a good start. You regret any offense that you caused and apologize. It was never your intent to be unprofessional, or cause offense...

Try and get clarification on what you can do differently so it doesn't happen again.

Good luck!, and let us know how it turns out.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

I'm pretty much in agreement with the previous posters here. I would seek some sort of mediation if at all possible.

When speaking (or writing) of the incident, I would not admit to anything I did not do -- but I would be willing to apologize for inadvertantly causing any problems. I would word any apology very carefully, probably listing the accusations and then saying that they are not consistent with my memory of the events. I wouldn't go into a big defense of each particular item on the list, just say that I was sorry for any problems that your communication or behavior may have caused.


1,917 Posts

I'm a bit confused. Is the question to her about what you did wrong during the sterile procedure all there is to this story? Or is there more? Because if that was all it was, it seems this whole situation has been grossly blown out of proportion.

In lab, if we break sterile field, our instructor will stop us and say "Do you know what you did wrong?" If not, then we would say no and she'll tell us. It's hard to correct your mistake if you don't know what it was!