Help I am a new grad and I made a medication error! - page 2

Help I am a new grad nurse just out of school working with my IP. I started working in a new grad program and my second day on the floor I made a major medication error. I gave medications to the... Read More

  1. by   rncountry
    My first med error was the same thing. I was a GN, and went into the patients room to give meds. One patient was out walking, the other patient sitting on the bed. I asked the patient on the bed, Mr. Smith? He answered in the affirmative. I gave the meds and was walking out of the room when the roommate was coming in, I passed that patient and my back was to him when I heard him say to the man I just gave meds to, "what the hell are you doing in my bed?" I felt like I dropped through the floor. I literally ran to the nurses station, grabbed my preceptor and started to babble that I gave the meds to the wrong patient. I was already in tears and just knew I would be fired. I had given cardiac meds to boot. My preceptor calmed me down, I called pharmacy and the doc. The doc was a wonderful man simply told me to take vitals q hour for four hours and to give myself a break, while telling me it was not likely the cardiac meds I gave would do anything harmful to the patient. Let me tell you that patient was alot better off than I was. I cried on and off for the rest of the day, which was very embarrassing in itself to me. The patient ended up fine and I learned a lesson I have never forgotten.
    And please note the first sentence in this reply, I have been nursing ten years now, and yes that was my first med error. I have made others. Few and far between thank God, but still it is important to remember we are all human, and therefore will make mistakes. This med error occured early in my career and I am very careful because of it still. It was not a pleasant experience, but I do believe that I am a better nurse for it.
    I didn't get fired either Incident report was filed and noone even said anything more to me about it after that. I did work a bit more closer to my preceptor afterwards but that was me, not the preceptor. A large amount of my confidence was wiped out because of that incident. But I would say that the people I worked with and my preceptor handled it well. Years later while precepting a new nurse myself she too made the same mistake. I was able to do for her what had been done for me. So I learned two lessons that day.
    Your career will go on, and you have learned a lesson. Good for you.
  2. by   Ann Algesia
    I totally agree with what the previous posters have said. I also made a medication error early in my career. If anything this has made me a better nurse, because to this day I check and double check all medications SO carefully. At the time I made my error, I gave the wrong type of insulin to a patient, I was given the following piece of advise by the senior nurse to whom I reported the error: "Better to check than to give and regret". This simple saying has stayed with me ever since. It is so easy to become complacent about drug administration, this will now not happen to you and I and the many others who have made errors. You will get over this, I know its easier said than done but try not to beat yourself up over this. Very best wishes to you Rosey.
    With Love Ann
  3. by   nursedora
    We have all been there, new and old Nurses, RN and LPN alike, Like another post, any one who say's they have never made a mistake are either telling a story, or haven't put in a busy shift. I remember the first time I made an error as you did, thank goodness it wasn't detrimental to the patient, but it was to me! I was mortified! I wanted to shrink away and never work as a Nurse again. But I stuck with it and 14 years later, I'm still a good Nurse, I know, because my residents are comforted when I'm on duty, I get comments like: "I'm glad you are here, I get so lost when you aren't" "You were off yesterday! I missed you!"

    You too will get the same respect from your patients and residents. Just remember no matter how busy your shift is, remember the 5 rights in medication administration. Take a moment to double check. Get a system and stick with it. Don't let any one try to hurry you when it comes to administering medications. For me my system is being systamatic. And I keep a note pad on the medication cart to jot down out of cluster time medications I need to give as well as any PRN medications I've given.
  4. by   Rustyhammer

    I have been nursing for over 15 years and still am prone to an occasional med error. It's not that I'm not a good nurse ( I think I am) it's just if you consider the amount of meds given (20+ patients + 3 med passes a day x 5 days a week x 48 weeks a year)...sooner or later something is going to screw up and you will be interupted and pressured and running late and have to deal with families and a MD visit and Mrs. Jones just fell or you are on a new unit and don't know the residents well and you are in a facility that doesn't use wristbands ect... the fact is that ALL nurses have made med errors. This is said not to make you feel better but to let you know that we are all human, we make mistakes but if we are careful and remember the 5 rights it will be minimized.

    chin up,
  5. by   Genista
    Agree with many previous posts. Learn from your mistake & do better next time! Do your five rights, like you were taught. Check arm bands (I joke about it w/ patient, "Just making sure you are who you say you are!"). Take time to check what you are giving. Give it late, but give it right. I heard an MD say once, "Better to not give a med than give the wrong one." Something to think about. You did the right thing! We all make mistakes @ times. The good Nurses follow up w/ MD & learn from them. You sound like a caring person who learned a good lesson. Take care.
  6. by   imaRN
    "To ERROR is human"...and we nurses ARE human!....The best thing about someones error? Many Nurses learn from others mistakes.....and that is saving many of them from making more mistakes.......Welcome to the Real World of Health Care........Good Luck Rosey!!........imaRN
  7. by   Lisamulti
    Dear new grad,
    Your only human--we are all only human. You'll make it and thrive , I can just tell, and the other person who replied was right--you'll never do that again. I have done this myself a long time ago--and you know, MD's are only human too>unless someone continuously makes mistakes, doesn't care, etc.
    We need to just learn. Don't beat yourself up--please dont quit, we need you wherever you are. Take care---and try not to worry....
  8. by   Lisamulti
    Dear new grad,
    Your only human--we are all only human. You'll make it and thrive , I can just tell, and the other person who replied was right--you'll never do that again. I have done this myself a long time ago--and you know, MD's are only human too>unless someone continuously makes mistakes, doesn't care, etc.
    We need to just learn. Don't beat yourself up--please dont quit, we need you wherever you are. Take care---and try not to worry....
  9. by   delcan

    your first medication error and it certainly won't be your last. I'm sure many nurses can empathise with how you felt after the event. Just remember that ALL nurses have and will make medication errors, and making such an error does not make you a bad nurse. Indeed your response to the incident portrays the opposite
  10. by   Robin61970
    As everyone said....we all are human and make mistakes, but i have to say Kudos to you for taking responsibility and telling them you did it.....
  11. by   dstout-rn
    Give yourself a break!!! Like everyone has said we all make errors. Learn from it and move on. sometimes as new nurse we are so nervous (hidden by misplaced confidence) errors are easily made. Get back on the floor and be GREAT nurse we need you!!!!!! Don't give up all that hard work in nursing school over one error!!!
  12. by   mustangsheba
    Let me add a little extra note here that may also be of use down the road. I requested a pain medication for one of my patients last night. The Doc ordered Vicodin. My little nurse Guardian Angel,( who knows me well so hovers over me through every shift) whispered "check the allergies." Sure enough, there was Vicodin. My GA also arranged it so the Doc had forgotten something and was returning from the elevator. She told me she was hoping I would think to check before giving the med. The only reason I might not have checked is that this doctor knew the patient very well, and I had never laid eyes on him and we were very busy with patients bleeding out and dying and such. The morale of this story is ALWAYS listen to your Guardian Angel! How are ya doing, by the way?
  13. by   maryb
    And sometimes your patient has a guardian angel. The last time I gave a patient the wrong meds (patients next door to each other with same name, different middle initial), I freaked too. I was sooo upset, called the doc, and he had me run some basic labs on the patient to check things. The patient was scheduled to be discharged, but the doc held him for assessment and these labs.
    Turned out, the guy's H/H was VERY low, needed a transfusion. It didn't have anything to do with the meds I gave him. And if I hadn't made the mistake, he would have went home like that and come back to us in WORSE shape.
    Turned out, he had a small GI bleed. Moral of the story? I was still upset over the mistake I had made, but it wasn't the end of the world. In fact, the doctor came to floor, hugged me and said "Mary, we all make mistakes, and it doesn't make you a bad nurse" You don't often get that kind of support from the physician community, so I was able to put the experience in perspective.