Does this make a bad nurse/aide?


Hey guys. I'm a male RN student that works occasionally at a LTC faculty as an aide. I agree with the nurse BTW, but I'll tell you the story.

It was my last day yesterday before the fall semester began. I felt really energetic and felt I did a really good job. The one woman had a very low food intake over three weeks, and I went in every ten minutes or so to give her a sip of soda to increase her caloric intake. I put everyone in a low bed position. If they have edema in their lower extremities I elevate their feet. I walked all of my patients who were able to walk, and walked one who told me she had not walked in weeks. I got my baths done, fed people, the whole nine yards. I feel I do wayyy more for my patients than most of the people I work with (most don't walk their assigned patients, period)._

Anyways, this was near the end of second shift yesterday. A woman had oxygen in via nasal cannula. Her cannula is a bit big for her, and her nares are always very sore. I told her I would get some Vaseline for her, to help with the soreness. I asked the LpN if I could use some and she said yes. Okay so here's the slightly gross part. I went into another womans room and used her jar and gave it to the one with oxygen. I didn't think about cross contamination or anything, since I always applied it to her with either gloves or a q tip. Anyways, the woman whose Vaseline I borrowed (she had told me it was okay if I took a tiny amount, which I did) told her aide, then the aide told my LPN. Apparently the woman with oxygen had Vaseline ordered, but it was not in her room or bathroom, nor was I even aware she had an order for one. The LPN told me that what I did was gross (looking back, yea it kinda was, brain fart) and told me she hoped I would never become an RN, I was a moron to be in RN school and do that, and swore that if she was a patient she would pray to god I would never be her nurse. Usually I can brush this off, but after my shift was over I just went back to my car and started crying. Am I a bad aide/bad RN? Yes I had a lapse in judgement, but I really do care for my patients and spend time with them and help them anyway I can. I feel horrible now and am wondering if I am cut out to be a nurse. I just feel hopeless. Help? It really hit me where it hurts.

Thanks guys.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,482 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

We all have our moments. I am sure the LPN has made bigger mistakes than yours.

Learn from it, never repeat it, and give yourself a break.

None of us will ever be perfect!

Yeah, that happens sometimes. I wouldn't feel bad, for it isn't a TERRIBLE mistake. The nurse probable should have asked what you needed it for, and then dolloped some out into a medicine cup, or given you the individual packets.

My concern is that using Vasoline with oxygen could cause burning or irritation, because it truly is a petroleum product, which can interact with direct flow oxygen.

I think the Nurse overreacted, and shouldn't have spoken to you like that. It was rude, condescending, and inappropriate, and uncalled for.


164 Posts

It was a mistake but it didn't warrant that kind of disrespect. Ignore her and brush it off. If anything, she sounds bitter.


54 Posts

She also screamed this at me while three other aides were also present. I am not sure as to report her to the DON or not. This has happened in a much lesser manner on three different occasions (for the tiniest things, like not realizing I left someone's dentures in. Whoop de doo.) At the same time I really don't want to create drama and make it awkward or heated between the two of us if we happen to work again

vanilla bean

861 Posts

If it makes you feel any better, I think the nurse showed a lack in judgement by telling you it was OK to use Vaseline to the nares of someone getting oxygen via a nasal cannula. And, oh ya, gross. As a rule, no sharing of personal hygiene stuffs ;-). Shake it off. Move on. Learn and do better. That's what it's all about.

Specializes in Pediatric. Has 5 years experience.

I'm sorry you had a bad reaction from this person. It's not that horrible of a mistake. Sending hugs.


1,526 Posts

Has 6 years experience.

Haha, O please. if that so-called nurse has even made one med error (as we all have) - that's 100x worse than what you did. Live and learn

Bumex, DNP, NP

1 Article; 384 Posts

Specializes in Assistant Professor, Nephrology, Internal Medicine. Has 13 years experience.

Report to the DON.

Specializes in LTC/ TCC/Hospice/Clinic Supervisor/Med-Surg. Has 21 years experience.

Wow, Can you say B****H! She way overreacted, That was Mean and Very Rude. If I was her I would have Explained to you why this was a Mistake instead of Beating you up Verbally. I agree she's probably actually MORE than likely made a Waaaaaayyyyy Worser Mistake! Keep going and take this as a Learning Lesson. Residents who reside in rooms together share Tons of stuff with each other. JustSaying......


4 Posts

Specializes in MedSurg;Geriactrics;LTC.

First no that doesn't make you a bad aide or nurse. We all have moments we wish we could rewind the clock and get a do over. Learn from the mistake and more importantly learn from the treatment. The nurse's treatment of you is an example of what kind of leader NOT to be. I would be willing to bet that this nurse has had other not so professional behavior with staff members. The most important part of nursing is caring and by your actions, you have full filled that part of the obligation well. Good luck as an RN. Please do not let the unprofessional behavior of one cause you to question your own dedication and commitment.

Amistad, RN

131 Posts

Has 10 years experience.

Wow. Those were harsh words from that nurse! Don't sweat it. Your heart was in the right place and clearly you don't neglect your patients!