Mistakes... Feel like there is no coming back from it

  1. Hi AN, I am 6/7 months into my first year as a nurse on a medsurge unit and just when I thought I was getting the hang of it.. I had a really crazy day and made my a first big mistake. I had a patient who was thought to have an infected picc line. I was instructed to remove it and have the tip cultured. Right after removing the picc I accidentally impulsively tossed it in the trash. Needless to say it couldn't be cultured anymore. Somehow the doctor was not even that mad (though def not pleased) when I told him. but my manager said she would have to file an official incident report. Then a whole bunch of other stuff starting happening. A few days later a patient compalined to my manager that I always seemed like I was in a rush and didn't really care. We are really short on nursing assistants so nurses are expected to do everything (bathing, toileting, feeding) that normally the assistant would do, so I know that patient had a legit reason to say that I really was rushed all the time - I was. My manager is very tough and I know she is mad about these incidents. she even yelled at another first year grad for calling a rapid response that wound up not being a true emergency. Since this is my first job I wanted to stay for a few years but I don't know if I can even last. I know the first year is tough for everyone my nerves are fried and I am losing the motivation to keep trying I know you can come back from a bad day but its been a bad couple weeks now. How do you all cope with this stuff?
    Last edit by babysteps25 on Sep 8, '12 : Reason: Too long. Made it more concise, don't want to waste everyone's time!
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    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 38; Likes: 18


  3. by   SHGR
    That is so hard when you are short staffed and don't feel like you have the support of your manager. Everyone makes mistakes- you will hear this a million times, but it really is true. Throwing away a PICC line- not really anywhere close to being a sentinel event, is it. I mean all our actions should be thoughtful and deliberate but when you are short staffed, you just can't perform as well as as the "ideal nurse" you have imagined yourself to be.

    As far as calling the RRT, that is what they are for- when you suspect your patient needs a higher level of care than your unit can provide. Again, I relate that to short staffing.

    Do you have a mentor that you can trust, that you can talk these things through with? Because things happen...patients do complain whether warrented or not... but you do have to keep your confidence and your self-worth.

    It does get better.
  4. by   carlyfry
    I agree with the post above. Just keep going forward. Learn from your mistakes and move on. It takes time to feel somewhat comfortable with nursing. We've all been there although some of the oldies forget what its like to be new. Find someone you can trust on your unit and vent to them. Hang in there!
  5. by   DutchRN09
    Actually your manager should have been pleased that you had the foresight to call a RRT. So what if it wasn't needed, better than than the other way around. Everyone makes mistakes and disposing of a PICC accidentally , oh well, you won't do that again. And no one was hurt.
    Short staffing is horrid, and there will always be patients who complain, no matter what. Do you have a good relationship with your preceptor? Even though you are long done with orientation, it is nice to have someone who knows you and that you can talk to. How about other new people that started at the same time? Do you support each other? It does get better with time and I hope you are having a better day. Hang in there.
  6. by   CapeCodMermaid
    I've had doctor's remove PICC lines and toss them out before they measured them. I was NOT the one going through the trash.Mistakes happen. No one was harmed because you threw the PICC line away.You can learn from your mistakes. Try to stick it out for at least a year.
  7. by   Wild Irish LPN
    you can feel very lonely when you make mistakes, lonely and foolish....I know first hand, as do many other nurses....I made my first big mistake a little over a month in to my first job, just after orientation ended....gave a wrong med that could have adversely affected my patient (it didn't...thank God) and I was miserable....but I did have a great DON and Preceptor that helped me through it and made me understand that I too am human, capable of mistakes....you are as well, please listen to your supporters at your facility and here at AN....it will get better and so will you, keep your head up kid
  8. by   FLmed
    Just wanted to send you some love. I can empathize. I've been there too. We will get through this!!! Maybe if the hospital doesn't start staffing properly, you can look into getting a new job after you've put in your year of experience.
  9. by   lifeisgood2012
    I can empathize too. This post gives me hope - I appreciate you taking the time to write it out.
    I am sorry you are going through this and I think it is commendable that you are pushing through
    trying to get to your first year mark - bravo! I know it must be hard to do it without support-
    just keep coming here and we will try to give you the support you need.

    Its nice to know that there are preceptors and DON's out there that allow us, as new nurses,
    to be human.
  10. by   DroogieRN
    None of the stuff you mention is ultimately a big deal. I'm sorry you don't have a lot of support to know this. Maybe you can find a mentor you trust and can vent with? So important! As others have said, try to stick it out at least a year. Not only will it look good on a resume, you'll likely feel better about your skill set by then as well.
  11. by   sapphire18
    Mistakes happen. Especially small ones like this. It'll happen throughout your career, and the more you make, the more you will learn how to do it right the next time. Also, with time and experience the mistakes will become fewer and farther in between. Just DON'T lose your confidence- that and your knowledge will be vital in growing into a strong nurse. Which you CAN do. Find the supportive people on your unit, ask for their opinion if you are unsure of how to do something. When you have free time (yes, that will happen eventually), offer to help out with nurses who seem overwhelmed. You got their back, they'll have yours. You can do this!!
  12. by   mariebailey
    This craziness is temporary, and your 1st big mistake could have been much worse. I am telling you what I have to remind myself all the time. Surely your manager won't draw conclusions a/b your bedside manner from a single patient complaint. I have a question: Why do they culture the tip? Serious question. I don't work in acute care. The culture of the catheter tip is not a criterion for CLABSI by the NHSN. Wouldn't blood cultures provide more useful information? Just curious. Also, all nurses make mistakes. In my opinion, it is how you handle the aftermath that matters. Sounds like you handled it honestly & professionally.

  13. by   anotherone
    Did this affect treatment(maybe of maybe not depending on antibiotics that would be used depending on cultures) but in the grand scheme of mistakes this isn't a huge one. You always should file incident reports on things like this any way. The being rushed while working short is something i HATE. There is no way around it, I would like to see anyone do the job of 2 people successfully every shift. That is the organization's fault for allowing it. Your manager yelled about a nurse calling a rrt for what WOUND UP being a non emergency? wow, i guess it depends what it was called for, but yelling is still not a great choice . I thought I was starting to cope with the job better ( 2 years now) but have had really bad shifts lately so I don't know how I cope with it. i used to cope with it by fooling myself into apathy. It does get a bit more tolerable as time goes on.
  14. by   Ruby Vee
    Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Just learn from it and move on. As far as losing your motivation to go on . . . get over it. Not as easily done as said, and I understand that. But unless you want to spend your career hopping from job to job, you're going to have to learn to get through the rough patches. That same advice works for LIFE as well as for a career.