Big Med Error.

by Pepper The Cat Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 36 years experience.

Well, it happened to me today.

I made a huge med error and I am just sick over it. I gave my pt meant for another pt. 4 antihypertensives, a diabetic med. Pts blood pressure started to drop over the morning and we ended up transferring to ICU for closer monitoring. I have been told she is OK but I am still just sick. I am actually taking a mental health day tomorrow because of this.

I have to say everyone was wonderfully supportive, including the physician.


6,379 Posts

I'm sorry.

Take a breather tomorrow, then get back at it. Don't let it become a catalyst for inordinate anxiety. She'll be okay. ETA: And so will you.


SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience. 1,012 Posts

I am so sorry.  ☹️

Medication errors are hard on everyone, both on the patient, the nurse, and possibly family if they find out.  I made an error recently myself, so can relate to the panic and stress that comes with it.   Being told the patient is doing fine doesn't always make it any easier. 

I like the idea of taking a day off to recover.  Maybe take 2 if you need to.  Then, although this is easier said than done, the next thing is to move on and focus on providing the best possible care to your future patients. ?




Pepper The Cat

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 36 years experience. 1,775 Posts

Pt and family were informed of the error. 

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,040 Posts

With all the pressures on nurses these days, I'm not surprised if some are making big errors. I feel for you and know that you will pick yourself up and carry on.

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

I'm sorry. I know that's one of the loneliest feelings in the world. I'm glad everyone is being supportive.



64 Posts

I am sorry it happened. the good thing is that the patient will be OK. Time will pass and you will feel better as it does. 

I had a similar error and it took me a year to get over it. It teaches you to be careful, for sure.


sleepwalker, MSN, NP

Specializes in Occupational Health. Has 18 years experience. 336 Posts

Errors happen. You handled it properly. Just identify why you made the error and try to make sure you don't do it again....nothing you didn't already know or haven't heard already

Snatchedwig, ADN, CNA, LPN, RN

Specializes in Medsurg. Has 14 years experience. 407 Posts

Accidents happen. Accidents are great teaching tools too. Enjoy your day off!


Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 36 years experience. 527 Posts

Error is human.  We all make mistakes.

That you came clean for the patient's sake is the most important issue here. And that you have a conscience over what happened shows what a good, conscientious nurse you are.

It is a horrible experience, but you will get over it.


Pepper The Cat

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 36 years experience. 1,775 Posts

Went through the debrief a few days ago. While the pt/family were upset about the error the fact that we were so transparent about the error really helped. Esp since I told the pt fright away.

My manager actually said I should a lot of courage telling the pt right away.

I still feel sick about it though.


Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,283 Posts

I'm so sorry that you went through that. I'm sort of surprised it's not happening more often these days with the way things are going with staffing. Don't let it get to you too much, you acted as responsibly as possible and the situation was handled. I completely understand that sick feeling when you realize a mistake and then you have to tell someone. (my patient was on a ventilator, so I had to tell the attending)

Hopefully they will identify where there was a break in the patient safety chain and it will help minimize the potential for similar errors in the future. Take care of yourself!