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I'm Going to Jail for Sure!

Nurses Article   (13,150 Views | 8 Replies | 766 Words)

BSN_after_40 has 19 years experience and specializes in Public Health, Teaching, Geriatric, M/S.

7 Articles; 2,712 Profile Views; 35 Posts

In 1992, I was a brand new LPN (probably even had the new nurse smell) working on a busy med/surg floor. I was so proud and excited about my new career and took my job very seriously! I believe I was a week or 2 out of orientation, so I was really green!

I'm Going to Jail for Sure!

One busy morning, each room in our ward was full, so we were really running. I had 2 women in one of my rooms both in their 50's or early 60's. I was at the med cart carefully double and triple checking each pill while making sure I knew what they were for so I could appear confident and professional. There was a bunch of meds for bed #2, 12 pills I think total.

So, I walked into the room with the meds for the gal in bed #2. The lady in bed #1 caught me as I walked in and started asking me questions about a test she was having tomorrow and some other things. Meanwhile, she reached out for the pills and I gave them to her with a glass of water. She mentioned that she was short a bath towel and was wondering if I could grab her one. I said "sure" and left the room to retrieve one for her. I was on my way back to her room when it hit me, I just gave the wrong patient a whole lot of pills! One of my fellow nurses was coming towards me when I had this realization. She said my face lost every bit of color, even my lips went white! I felt my heart sink into my socks then began to cry!

I ran into the charting area and began to sob. The other nurses came in to see what was wrong, including my tough as nails head nurse! I could barely get the words out because I was crying so hard. I was sure that poor lady who was so nice will surely die thanks to me having a blonde moment!

My charge nurse was very calm. She said suck it up and let's go look at the MAR and see you gave her. Most of the meds luckily were some she was already on and some others that she wasn't weren't too bad. Her MD just happened to be on the floor at the desk signing orders off after his rounds. I had to pull myself together and tell him what happened. He too was very calm and looked over the MAR. He told me to just check her vitals every 30 minutes for a couple hours and call him if she had any abnormal results. I was starting to feel a little better by then.

Next, I had to humiliate myself by calling the pharmacy and refilling the med drawer. Of course, they asked why and again I had to explain my oops.

My charge nurse told not to let on what had happened to the patient unless she had a reaction. So, I had to make up a story about needing more experience checking vitals and would be doing this a lot on this shift. I took the roommates vitals as well just to make it look realistic.

After a few hours of no change in vitals or condition, I was feeling better and almost over it when she got company. I was coming out of another patient's room when I saw a police officer walking into her room. Immediately, I felt my self starting to cry again! Surely, she had found out and called the police!

A second trip into the charting room sobbing like 3-year-old visibility disturbed my charge nurse. She came in and said, "what did you do now?" I again found it hard to verbalize what was wrong through my tears but managed to tell her the cops were here to arrest me for what I did. That's when a big smile came over her face and she started to laugh! She said

"that police officer is her son you twit!"

After I composed myself I did laugh too. She was laughing so loud the staff came in and asked what was going on. Needless to say, I took a lot of ribbing for that for a long time.

Thankfully, the lady was fine and had no idea the turmoil I went through by that stupid mistake. When I was working with her for the next few days before she was discharged, I pretty much pampered her, answering her call light as fast as I could!

My charge nurse would bring that up every now and then over the next 9 years I worked on the floor. She said it was the best laugh she had in years.

BSN/PHN for a county public health department

7 Articles; 2,712 Profile Views; 35 Posts

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perfectbluebuildings is a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics.

1,016 Posts; 13,115 Profile Views

that is really funny. I can remember my first med error and how worried I was. I love the dialogue between you and your charge nurse... awesome story.

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346 Posts; 5,839 Profile Views

This was very funny, my husband wondered why I was laughing and crying at the same time - I could not bring myself to tell him about it - I had to let him read for himself. Thanks for showing us that there are some charge nurses out there that did not take your head off !!

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23 Posts; 783 Profile Views

that is such a touching story between you and your charge nurse especially -- knowing that someone is there for you although you are still so new. In some wards, your head could have been chopped off. lol just kidding. But this is a touching and funny story =)

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27 Posts; 1,339 Profile Views

I am a new nursing too. I have had two med errors. since feb (when I got my License).

Both were stupid mistakes of trying to rush because of being short handed. On the other hand I have had four mistakes transcribing DR's orders I said even back in school the paperwork would kill me. It seems so simple to write clearly But one day I was reviewing an order. And for the life of me I could not figure out what he had written. I had the RN page him and ask what it was he had written. He was two floors below and made a smart comment about how the order was there and we should be able to read it. I could not read the squiggles and lines on the orders A second call from the RN for me really ****** him off. He told them he would be right up to read it to me! He arrived and I handed him the chart, he turned beet red. He could not read it either. And he could not remember what he was ordering. Now if he is rounding when I am there he makes a point to ask me if I have any questions before he leaves

We are good friends now

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346 Posts; 5,839 Profile Views

Hi Michelleroth1: Great job on being persistent in getting clarity from the Dr. I bet when he turned red you were just bursting inside and saying "gottcha". :yeah: Keep up the good work.

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cleo2uluv has 11 years experience and specializes in Nursing, Midwifery, Public Health.

37 Posts; 3,339 Profile Views

this is VERY funny! I pretty much understand the feeling. Thanks.

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17 Posts; 1,883 Profile Views

:fnypst: thanks for sharing, i enjoy reading stories especially about firsts.

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College_Mom2006 has 5 years experience and specializes in Pediatric, Nursery, Postpartum.

32 Posts; 1,604 Profile Views

Thanks for sharing your story. I am sure everyone has had that sinking feeling of suddenly thinking they did something wrong. I have. And, oh the relief to realize that it was just a thought. I would have been in tears as well. I am glad that your patient was fine. And your reaction to the police officer being there was priceless.

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