Feel like I'm contstantly making mistakes!


Hi everyone! I'm a new grad and am in the 10th week of a 12 week orientation at a busy inner city hospital. We do 300+ deliveries/month and have a level III NICU. I absolutely LOVE my job, but I feel like I'm always making errors. Yesterday I was triaging a pt for suspected labor and her BP's were elevated. She was already at a sister hospital earlier in the day where her MD didn't have privleges. Anyways, called MD got orders to admit & I totally forgot to ask about BP ranges and meds! This was all happening at change of shift, so I told oncoming RN and offered to call MD back to get ranges/BP meds, but she said she would do it. Then I got home and realized I forgot to but TO: MD readback on my orders.

I am wondering if it will get better. Im nervous that I am on my own in 2 weeks and should be able to manage 2 patients and I feel like I keep messing up on things that should not be forgotten. I guess I am probing for some advice. Thanks!

nurse2033, MSN, RN

3 Articles; 2,133 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU.

These things will become second nature over time. You seem to have a great attitude. Keep doing your best and I'm sure you will suceed.

I had a teacher back in elementary school who who said: "Look at mistakes as a learning experiences." These are little mistakes, and you are a smart and gifted individual who will be able to refine your assessment and documentation to address these areas for the future patients you serve. No one should expect you to be flawless! Not even yourself! If one could learn this job in a one or two months, then any "monkey" could do it. Anybody warm body off the street, including a snot-nose teen could do it. It so happens, it takes at least a year of nursing to become competent. Any job that has responsibility and requires any thinking, planning, revising, implementing takes at least a year to become efficient and competent. Just realize you will not repeat the same mistake next time, and you will be able to foresee and prevent future mistakes and mishaps from what knowledge you have all ready acquired. So, look at these little "mistakes" as learning experiences. :yeah:


3,413 Posts

Has 38 years experience.

Okay, you are not perfect, luckily for you I am, ha ha. (Humor decreases anxiety and you will make MORE mistakes if you are anxious.) Focus on the patients health and safety. Focus on safe drug delivery, ReAd the laBel, rEad the LabeL, READ THE LABEL, when giving drugs.

You will make "minor" paper work errors, you will forget to ask MD questions when you get phone orders (I'm bad at this also). If phone orders are a problem practice at home. Ask a friend to play MD. Call them about your patient, ask all you need to ask, practice saying before they hang up, "so I will write ______," "the order reads," "let me read that back to you." or whatever phrase feels comfortable to you.

Put a paper on the front of your locker or around your car keys that lists the frequent errors so before you leave you can go back and double check your charting. Or keep a little sticky label on the back of your name tag you can jot reminders on it and check it before you go home.

ImThatGuy, BSN, RN

2,139 Posts

I feel like I've been constantly negative and cynical lately. Which is worse?

Specializes in OB Labor & Delivery.

As a fellow new grad who started on an OB unit right out of school (3+ years ago) I have to say, congratulations to you! That's a big achievement. :yeah:

Your orientation is a time for you to make mistakes because you are learning. I know it's frustrating to make mistakes when all you want to do is provide great care, but like others have said, these mistakes are learning experiences. And you know what? Last night I came home from work and also thought about how I could've done things differently. It's good to have that kind of reflection. Hindsight is 20/20... next time you'll have an easier time remembering to act differently.

Yes. It will get better. As a new grad, I went through the initial required orientation... and then some. My preceptor recommended to our manager that I needed a little more time under her wing. It stung a bit, I really wanted to be able to do it on my own, but in the end I was thankful for the extra time. If you feel that's necessary, ask for an extra week or two. It's better to ask than go off on your own and fumble through it only to have your manager say, "If you were this uncomfortable, why didn't you ask for extra time to orient?" Have a conversation with him/her. You can do it! It takes time. Lots of time, lots of patients (and patience), but you will get it. Good luck! :D


394 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac.

Its good that you are recognizing your mistakes and trying to resolve them. That is how you learn. It sounds like you are right on track.


127 Posts

Thanks everyone! I know I will make mistakes and I'd rather be forgetting to ask about blood pressure meds than making a patient or med error. I definitely have been learning from them. Yesterday I made a list of things I needed to ask for before I called the MD and that helped significantly.


242 Posts

Specializes in Postpartum, L&D, Mother-Baby. Has 7 years experience.

I am also a new grad on a OB unit. I am only on my third or fourth month working.......a few days ago, I was pulled aside by a doctor who noticed a few errors I made with one of his patients the previous night. He was very professional in his approach. I knew he was trying to groom me to become a better nurse.....but when our 5-7 minute conversation ended, I went into an empty room and CRIED LIKE A BABY!!!!!!! I cried then and later on that night while talking to the house supervisor about how I felt like I "couldn't pull it together". But I learned--I am now making sure EACH AND EVERY order on the doctor's order forms are followed to a tee. The last night I worked, all my patient care was done before the doctors arrived on the unit.....my charting may have been behind (something else I am trying to work on), but all the patients were well by the time I left.....we just have to look at making mistakes as learning opportunities! :redpinkhe


169 Posts

Specializes in NICU,MB,Lact.Consultant, L/D. Has 31 years experience.


You will get better at things as time goes on. 12 weeks is NOT enough to make you and experienced L/D nurse, so try and relax a bit if you can. My question is why are "they" "throwing you to the wolves"? New grads should not IMHO be saddled with the huge responsibility of triage. You have to know normal then complicated labor before you can make the quick decisions Triage requires. Shoot after 15 years in L/D I can get 2 patients that I need help managing. Loving your job is great : ). Never be afraid to ask for help or a "nursing consultation". You will be a great L/D nurse.


127 Posts

Thanks for the responses. They want the new hires/grads (another RN & I) to get used to triage now because we will be expected to do it. I think it comes down to the fact we are extremely busy and everyone has to pull their weight. As of now when I triage, my precepting RN double checks my vag exams (if req) before I call the MD. Otherwise, I've learned how to do spec exams, collect FFN's, amnicators, etc...We do have awesome team work at the hosp and everyone is willing to answer questions or double check something if I'm not sure. Majority of the doctors have been great, very helpful and willing to teach. Then again, I am at a teaching hospital and have med students/residents all over the place. I had my first should distocia yesterday and my preceptor and MD were great during the whole delivery and went over the delivery afterwards.

I know things will take time. I take each day as a learning experience and am getting some constructive feedback from my co-workers. They all tell me it takes atleast 2-5 yrs to feel ok at the job. I guess I just feel this huge weight since the L&D RNs can do so much in the state where I work and the MDs have certain expectations because of it. I take each day one at a time and go from there.