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clouds_creamy clouds_creamy (New Member)

Learning from Mistakes

Nurses   (325 Views 2 Comments)
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I've been an RN for about 2 years now, and I've realized that the hardest part of the profession is not being yelled at by other patients or being pulled in many directions, but it is having to cope with the possibility of making a mistake.

Although I tell myself that I am only human, and I am imperfect, it still brings me a lot of fear to know that I could hurt a patient. When I was a Med-Surg nurse, I had a patient who's labs were abnormal and gave me reason to call the MD to start the sepsis protocol. Part of the protocol was to infuse a 2 L bolus, which I did. I later realized, after a chest X-ray was done, that he also had CHF. Something I was told, but totally forgot. Immediately the RN breaking me stopped the fluid bolus (800 cc was infused), and the pt was given Lasix as ordered. My heart sunk... It's one of the worst feelings when you've realized you've made a mistake. Fortunately, the pt was fine. He was also getting Lasix PO in the day because his legs were also very edematous. Nothing happened after the 5 nights I took care of him luckily, but I do think about it sometimes and feel regretful still. Sometimes, I wonder how the patient is doing.

I feel like I've coped with this incident, but I still think about it sometimes as a haunting memory. I wanted to share this not only for therapeutic reasons, but also because it might help someone else. We are stronger nurses after making a mistake, and the most important thing we can do after it happens is to learn from it.

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I definitely understand how you feel, I just want to encourage you to give yourself a break. And I would add with nearly 100% certainty that the patient has absolutely no adverse effects related to the 800cc fluid bolus you administered that day. However, you raise a very good point that on a daily basis we are all faced with situations where, by the nature of what we do, we could inadvertently bring harm to a patient. Being aware of that possibility brings vigilance and care, being paralyzed by it is counterproductive and can inhibit your growth as a nurse. Every single nurse has made or will make a mistake. For some it will unfortunately be tragic, like in the current thread about the vercuronium administration, and for others it will be benign, or only a near miss. So we continue to practice with safety in mind, always following the rights of administration, and following best practices, to do our best to improve patient outcomes. Best to you, and thanks for sharing your story.

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