Made a med error

  1. I know that to some this may not make a lot of since cause knowing me I jumped everywhere but I just needed to go some where where I could just say something about my experience

    OK so yesterday was the worst day so far of my short nursing Career. I am a newer grad (have been working as a nurse since March 06) and have only been working in my hospital since Aug so I am being precepted. well to make a long story short, yesterday I made a med error where I gave a pt another pt's meds. Now once I realized my mistake I went to my preceptor and informed her what I had done, as 3 of the meds could really have affected the pt. I knew I was going to get into crap you don't make an error like that and expect it to be swept under the rug right. Well the next thing I know the director of my unit is at the nursing station yelling at me with all the other staff around. Now my hospital is supposed to be a "blame free" yeah I didn't feel supported or anything to be yelled at in front of other staff (which I may add trying very hard to hold back tears) I am upset at myself I am scared for my pt I am now feeling very attacked as my director is still yelling and telling me that i am going to be written up.

    Now I will say it took a lot of courage to admit to my mistake and this situation I can honestly say Will make me think twice about doing that again and to me that is not a good thing at all. I am very angry at how the whole situation was handled. yes I expected to get in crap i made a mistake but I am still trying to figure out how it went from my preceptor right to the director of my unit bypassing the charge nurse and unit managers. on top of that I am made that in a place that is supposed to be blame free I am now on probation, have something in my permanent file, and now will not be able to transfer to another unit for 6 months. I do not feel that i am trusted - which is something I know to expect and something that i will need to earn back I just wish the whole thing was handled different. Part of me would like to go and talk to the director and let her know how this whole situation affected me but i already know I am sitting on a thin ledge and doing this could push me right off of it.
    anyways thanks to anyone who actually read this any type of feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Visit danigirl58 profile page

    About danigirl58

    Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 171; Likes: 4
    Staff RN
    Specialty: Adult ER


  3. by   Darlene K.
    You did the right thing by letting your preceptor know what had happened, that took courage. No one should yell at you period....but should have spoken to you privately. Best of luck to you.
  4. by   tigress_8207
    Hi you are not the first and you wont be the last.At least you owned up to your mistake.I know you feel down but almost every nurse has or will make a med error sometime in their career.If you browse the site you will find lots of others who are or were where you are who can offer you aded support.We all learn from our mistakes.Well keep your chin up and good luck.
  5. by   KIAN
    It sounds like the system needs to be changed. Unfortunately mistakes are going to happen because we are human. I am glad the patient was okay. If this is the only mistake you make in your career it would be rare indeed.
    The director was WRONG to confront you as was done. It will make it hard for others who make mistakes to want to come forward. She did more damage than you did IMHO.
    Don't beat yourself up. Accept, learn from it and move on.
    The director needs to look harder at the system that allows mistake like this to happen.
  6. by   CritterLover
    Quote from danigirl58
    i just wish the whole thing was handled different. part of me would like to go and talk to the director and let her know how this whole situation affected me but i already know i am sitting on a thin ledge and doing this could push me right off of it.

    [font="lucida sans unicode"][color="sienna"]as long as you do it professionally, it wouldn't be wrong to let your director know this.

    you made a mistake, you owned up to your mistake, you did your best to make amends (what could be done).

    she had no business reprimanding you, let along yelling at you, in public. and really, she souldn't have "yelled" at you at all.

    it wouldn't be wrong for you to approach her in private (or maybe with your preceptor, but not in public), after you are no longer upset, and say something like "i know i made a mistake, and i will do whatever i need to do in order to remediate. however, in the future, i would really appreciate it if you pulled me aside and spoke to me in private about things like this."
  7. by   bargainhound
    It helps to think of the patient.

    If the mistake had not been made known, the patient could have
    been harmed.

    You let the mistake be known so measures could be taken to make
    sure the patient did not decline.

    I have been on units when med errors were not made known and
    the patient nearly coded before someone else discovered the
    error. That is so much worse!

    Always keep the patient's safety/well-being foremost in your
    mind and it will help you cope as you go through necessary
    steps of notifying doctor, etc. to correct/monitor the
  8. by   mom23RN
    I think you need to go to your supervisor and let them know what happened. This was totally disrespectful and also might make someone else think twice about informing their supervisor when they do the same thing. Totally unproductive way to handle things.

    I'm glad that you stood up and did what was right. I'm sorry it was handled so poorly.

    ((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))) ))))
  9. by   santhony44
    Quote from kian
    the director was wrong to confront you as was done. it will make it hard for others who make mistakes to want to come forward. she did more damage than you did imho.don't beat yourself up. accept, learn from it and move on.
    the director needs to look harder at the system that allows mistake like this to happen.
    i agree, totally. no one who heard about this, including the director, is likely to have been a nurse any length of time without making an error.

    handling it the way she did was totally wrong and makes it that much more likely that the next person to make a mistake will cover it up rather than report it.

    i agree with looking at the system as well.

    don't beat yourself up.
  10. by   Tweety
    Your director handled it inappropriately.

    You need to confront her, professionally as was stated above and say. "Let's not talk about the med error, I understand I made a grave mistake that needs to be addressed, but I don't want to talk about that right now. Let's me tell you how you made me feel............." The director is your boss, your superior.

    This is precisely why people fear admitting mistakes.

    I'm sorry this happened. Good luck.
  11. by   IslandtrainedRN
    It makes me so sad and angry for you that your error was handled like that. If your director is a nurse as well, I'm sure she has made med errors herself (even big ones). The truth is, that any nurse who tells you that she/he has never had an error is flat-out lieing.

    This may have been your first med error, but it certainly won't be your last, and the way this was handled by your unit will only make you think twice about reporting your next error.

    Also - yelling at a nurse who has just made a mistake is a cruel thing to do. I'm sure you already felt sick about what had happened. That would have been a great opportunity for your management to show that they support their nursing staff.

    I'm a new nurse myself (graduated May 2006), and I made my first med error over the summer. I accidentally gave a medication that someone else had already given (and signed in). It was a pretty dumb mistake and could have been very harmful to my patient. I felt very fortunate that the staff was so supportive of me. The other nurses sat at the desk with me and told me some of their worst med errors, they helped me to fill out an incident report and even offered to call the doctor for me if I wasn't up to it. My med error turned out to be a very positive learning experience, and that's exactly what they should be.

    I hope that you are able to keep your confidence. Remember that every other nurse has made errors as well and that it DOES NOT make you a bad nurse.

    Is there anyone who you can report this situation to? Or anyone you can confide in to restore your confidence?

    Best of luck!
  12. by   AuntieRN
    I am sorry this happened to you as well. I am scared to death I will make a med error and someone will get hurt (I am a brand new grad 8/06). I agree your manager handled this totally inappropriately. I am not sure I would want to continue working for such a person. We are all human and make mistakes and I am sure your manager has probably made a mistake or two in the past...but we are all adults as well and should be treated like adults not children. I commend you for taking responsibility for your mistake. I know that took a lot of guts. Good luck to you in the future.
  13. by   Jolie
    I am sorry for your experience and the horrific treatment you received.

    I applaud you for having the courage to put your patient's best interests first and promptly reporting your error.

    Now, I am going to suggest that you do something equally important in preserving your confidence, dignity and professionalism: Make anappointment to see your DON. Insist on the meeting being held with an OPEN DOOR so that anyone in the outer office and/or hallway can overhear. Have a friend wait outside and listen. Calmly and with respect let the DON know that you will never again accept that kind of unprofessional treatment from her or anyone else within the 4 walls of your hospital. Acknowledge your error and the obvious need for immediate action, but continue to emphasize how her actions were counter-productive and completely unacceptable. Let her know that verbal abuse is never an acceptable form of discipline, and if it occurs again you will report her to Human Resources, your personal attorney, and the BON. Emphasize how the other staff members who over-heard her tirade have been sent a clear message to hide future errors.

    Demonstrate your backbone now, and chances are good that you will never be treated that way again. Cower and act frightened, and you will continue to be abused. This will not be easy. Practice in front of a mirror and with a friend until you have confidence that you can do this. Goodluck!
  14. by   MrsMommaRN
    As it was said before you aren't the first nurse to make a med error and you won't be the last. Yes you were brave to admit that you made a mistake. The way it was handled was wrong. What example is the director setting for future nurses or prospective clients?
    Make an appointment with your superviosor and the person that made the rude remakrs and treated you like a fool. Let them know point blank you are human and will not tolerate that kind of disrespect. You made a mistake an honest mistake. You are willing to accept accountiblity for your actions but you are not willing to be treated like a fool in front of your peers.
    Last edit by MrsMommaRN on Nov 3, '06