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Has anyone messed up really bad in a clinical and still passed

"Bad" as in just totally had an off day and every little small mess up you could make, you made, with the teacher around to witness. Today was AWFUL. Every move I made, there my teacher was. It wasn't on purpose, I know. But still I don't know what was going on with me, but I am extremely bummed out by it because the last few, while I was not perfect, I still did pretty well. By the way, this is my first semester of nursing school. Really, just some encouragement would be great.

LPNtoRNin2016OH, LPN

Has 5 years experience. Specializes in Allergy/ENT, Occ Health, LTC/Skilled.

I would think if you just had and off day with a few harmless mistakes they wouldn't kick you out. Now if you are routinely attempting to give the wrong med or being complained about from patients, then you may have an issue.


Has 2 years experience. Specializes in PICU, CICU.

You just need confidence is all, that will build up over time as you progress from one clinical day to the next.

You just need confidence is all, that will build up over time as you progress from one clinical day to the next.


Lack of confidence is my issue. I've had days where it just felt like I was dropping the ball left and right. Actually my first day passing meds knocked over the scanner onto the floor, knocking out the cord. Then had to squeeze through stuff to get it. Then getting flustered leads to getting more flustered.

The days I have more confidence are the days where this happens so much less.

I noticed that when I'd let these things bother me too much, it just made everything worse and there I would be "screwing up" again. If I'd just take a deep breath and regroup, I bounced back and didn't have anymore issues.

I really think confidence is key, and it's something you'll gain as you get experience. If you blunder, brush yourself off and move forward. I don't know if you're focusing on those things you think you're off on, but I've found that focusing and worrying about it just makes it happen again and again until I stop letting it bother me and move forward.

Just take a deep breath and keep moving forward.

BeachsideRN, ASN

Has 2 years experience. Specializes in NICU.

Nope. Just don't let it become a habit.


Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

I have "messed up really bad" in the eyes of my instructor.

I did pass that semester. I am now doing very well in my subsequent semester.

Things I wish I'd done, sooner:

1) reach out to my classmates for support. I didn't want anyone to know that I'd messed up. But opening up to select peers created a situation in which I received positive feedback from them, as well as helpful suggestions. Peers even offered me their tools they use to stay organized. They let me know about their own struggles.

2) meet your clinical instructor away from the hospital at office hours so you can better understand her desired outcomes.

3) I'm just now doing this: develop a balance between humbleness and confidence.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Has 14 years experience. Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

I've messed up terribly, yet here I am...I have been a nurse for 10+ years.

During clinical rotations I placed the trach tie around the comatose patient's neck a little too snugly, and she became cyanotic. My former clinical instructor wanted to fail me. This was 11+ years ago, in March 2005.

Again, here I am. There is light at the end of the tunnel as long as you learn from your mishaps. Good luck to you.


Has 1 years experience. Specializes in Transplant nursing.

Reach out to your clinical instructor and explain your worries. Tell them each thing that you know you did wrong, and how you will prepare to not make the same mistake again. Nursing is a learning experience, every single day. I have been a nurse for a year and sometimes still make "little" dumb mistakes- the key is always being honest with yourself and your superiors to tell them, hey, I'm not perfect, but here is how I will be better.


Has 3 years experience.

Talk to your instructor, you want to make the first move here to show that you are aware of the mistakes and that you have a plan for correction.

"Nurse Instructor, I feel I struggled with x, y, and z today. I am going to review these things tonight, any other advice for me to be better prepared for our next clinical day?" Then follow up to assess if your strategies worked.

Good luck, we've all been there!

missmollie, ADN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience. Specializes in Neuroscience.

I gave full amounts of medication to a patient who was only supposed to receive half a pill. It happens. I've pulled back on the heparin syringe to far and had heparin dripping down my arm, I've taken the protective brown bag off an IV medication, I have even put to much air into a contained vial of morphine and had the back pop off, in front of my clinical instructor. Tried to flush an IV with the line closed.

How horrible!

You learn from these experiences, and you realize not to do them again. You also realize how minor they are (with the exception of the medication errors) when you're a RN. You pick up, move on, and continue. You learn to own your mistakes, and you learn from them.

This too shall pass.

missourinurse2b, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

I have even put to much air into a contained vial of morphine and had the back pop off, in front of my clinical instructor. Tried to flush an IV with the line closed.

I think we have all done this :)

Everybody has an off day. You are in your FIRST semester, so of course you will make some mistakes. Learn from the mistakes and show improvement and you will be fine.

I had that day 2 weeks ago. It was awful. The day before I had felt so on top of things. It was one of those days where I thought, "Oh yeah, I definitely chose the right profession here." And then the next day I seriously felt dumber than a box of rocks. There was some bad family stuff that had happened the night before and I had barely slept. The whole clinical day was just a disaster. I completely blanked in the med room on why I was giving certain meds; I misheard the RN when she told me to flush an IV...I thought she said to take out the whole damn thing (thankfully I doubled checked and did not do this, although I looked like an idiot for even thinking that I should take out an IV on a patient that wasn't even close to discharge); during post-conference I almost forgot what one of my patient's admitting diagnosis was.

I could go on, but I'm embarrassing myself all over again. It happens. There's no way you could fail clinical for one day of that though.


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