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First Medication Error - Student Nurse

by macy017 macy017 (New) New


I made my first medication error today as a student nurse (I gave medications 2 times before). I took out an opioid with my teacher observing me, went to go label my cup, and then got sidetracked when I didn't see any labels. I then gave the patient their drugs and my teacher came in, mad at me. She told me that it was a med error for not labelling my cup, which completely had slipped my mind. I filled out a med error sheet. I've been having issues all semester with being nervous and forgetting small things, I'm under so much stress and worry. Am I going to fail?


Specializes in Stepdown . Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

Hi, I don't understand how not labeling a pill cup is a med error. You pulled out the right med for one patient and took it to the room. Is that one of the rights of medication? Thats not even a near miss. From an actual nursing standpoint, yes labeling a cup is a good habit, but not doing so is not an ERROR unless you actually/or almost broke one of the 5 "rights" or however many there are these days.

I don't see this as an actual med error...it's good habit though to keep an eye on your meds between prepping them and administering them. Basically the label let's you do the third 5 rights check at the bedside, and not make you rely on your memory. So I would look at your schools competencies for med administration and cite that when you discuss with your instructor to show that you've identified the rationale for her concerns. Own up to the issue, but don't berate yourself too much. I likely would have made the same mistake as my school only touched briefly in labeling, and I only had one clinical instructor that swore by labeling everything. This event will make you a more a good nurse. I hope your instructor understands that; you sound like a contientious person. Please keep us updated and try not to stress too much.

Kuriin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5 years experience.

This isn't a med error. I believe the teacher is trying to make you understand that if you take a med out of a room -- especially a narcotic -- and then get sidetracked, you will NOT know who it belongs to.

Here's a tip: Hospitals generally have ziplock bags (big ones) or bags for specimens. Grab one of those and put all of your patient's medications in it and with a marker, write on the bag the patient's room #. You will not forget who's they were.

tcvnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Thoracic Cardiovasc ICU Med-Surg. Has 15 years experience.

As a clinical instructor- were you allowed to give meds without your instructor present? My students had to have me present as they administered medications and treatments such as dressing changes.