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Getting over your past mistakes?

Stress 101   (278 Views | 3 Replies)
by dergs dergs (New) New

dergs has 2 years experience .

333 Profile Views; 5 Posts

I’m a ICU nurse with almost 2 years of experience in a few months. When I was a nursing aide and a new grad, I’ve made many errors due to lack of knowledge. It’s been a while now and I feel confident in my ability as a nurse, especially on my unit. However, these past few weeks I’ve been having intrusive, panic evoking thoughts about the past when I wasn’t as knowledgeable and competent.

For example - when I was in nursing school, I worked prn as a nurse aide on a med surg floor. One night, I got my routine vital signs and one patient was O2 satting in the 70s. I asked her if she felt like she had difficulty breathing and she responded that she always felt like that. Due to my lack of knowledge I charted the vitals and went on with my night without letting my RN know verbally. It wasn’t until the am when the RN reviewed their MAR and we urgently sent the patient to the ICU. There wasn’t really any follow up to the mistake I made except for another RN telling me a week later what happened (the patient ended up OK after all was and done). It wasn’t really until after I progressed further in my nursing career until I realized how much of a mistake I made.

This error, as well as others that I’ve made, even after much time has past and I’ve admitted to them, learned from them, I can’t seem to move on. I am anxious, unable to sleep at night often because of errors I’ve made months and years ago.

How do you all cope/forgive yourself for the past? Thanks for reading.

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12 Followers; 3,807 Posts; 28,668 Profile Views

6 hours ago, dergs said:

However, these past few weeks I’ve been having intrusive, panic evoking thoughts about the past when I wasn’t as knowledgeable and competent.

 

6 hours ago, dergs said:

This error, as well as others that I’ve made, even after much time has past and I’ve admitted to them, learned from them, I can’t seem to move on. I am anxious, unable to sleep at night often because of errors I’ve made months and years ago.

 

Speaking generally, this type of thing is not within the realm of normal processing. These things didn't happen yesterday/last week, no one was hurt, none of it ruined your life in some other way, you have learned and grown...in other words the usual elements that would more reasonably cause people to dwell on their actions are not present here.

Are you someone who can tend to be much harder on yourself than you would ever be on anyone else? It sounds like it could be worth speaking with a professional about it.

For the time being, start telling yourself that you would not criticize others the way you are criticizing yourself, and counter back against the negative thinking every time you recognize it.

I'm sorry you are feeling this way and hope you will work on seeing things in a different light, getting help to do so if necessary. 💮

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12 Followers; 3,807 Posts; 28,668 Profile Views

PS - Every one of us have your same types of mistakes and misunderstandings in our histories as nurses. You are okay.

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BoldNurse specializes in Cardiac.

4 Posts; 26 Profile Views

Sometimes it feels like dwelling on past mistakes is useful- like it will help prevent them from happening again. But as you have probably noticed, worrying about the past actually makes you less able to concentrate and be an effective nurse now, making it MORE likely you'll make errors. For me, it's been really helpful to pay attention to my thoughts and what result they give me in my life. I've been listening to a podcast called Thriving Nurse.  There's an episode called New Nurse Thought Traps I think you would find helpful. Even though you aren't a new new nurse, I think what this episode talks about applies to everyone and helps us be more intentional about what we think so our thoughts don't spiral like this.

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