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How to avoid making mistakes

Just a curious question. How do you avoid making mistakes. I know the pat answers. know what your doing, have good education but how can you avoid "brain farts" things that are so basic I had an error that I totally should have and could have caught before it became an error but I wasn't thinking. How do you avoid those.

Blee O'Myacin, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, Heme/Onc.

before making really stupid, big mistakes by thinking about what I was going to do before doing it. (Like double checking the dose and the route of a med for example).

That being said, I've made a few mistakes and I've owned up to them, took professional responsibility and learned from them. People who own up to what they've done wrong get way more respect in the long run.

I really wouldn't worry about it. Mistakes happen to the best nurses. Its how they are handled that set the good apart from the not so good.


traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Best advice - listen to the little voice inside you that says "be careful."

And slow down. Most mistakes are made because you're in a hurry. Slow down and insist on taking the steps to make sure you're doing things right.

I think being in good physical condition is essential.

By that I mean, regular exercise 3-5 x a week. Good eating habits, to nourish the body and mind. And plenty of quality sleep at night ( or day if you are NOC nurse).

I think too many nurses are in poor condition and physically and mentally-exhausted. These things alone, can lead to myriad errors.

Schatzi RN CEN

Specializes in Rural.

All the previous tips are great, I have one more to add, though. This is not coming from my super brain, I have read it a while ago in one of the nursing journals: Talk with your peers about mistakes made and especially "near misses". By hearing about these things you may have a little warning flag pop up whenever you are in the same situation. Also if these mistakes and near misses are used for prevention of new mistakes, there is a better chance that nurses will self report errors.


Specializes in Med-surg,.

Remember what was happening when the mistake occurred and NEVER ever let anyone get you distracted when y9u are passing meds!! Only a code would interrupt me.

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