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Lost a pill for my patient


So this is my 3rd clinical day in the ICU for my preceptorship in my last semester of nursing school. Me and my preceptor were pulling meds for a patient and someone I misplaced a pill package for a PPI medication. 

We looked and couldn’t find it. My preceptor told me not to worry because it wasn’t an opioid or benzo and went on to explain a story on how she took home a probiotic one time on accident and just threw it away. 

Unfortunately, I can’t shake off this feeling of being a total dumb***. Is there anyone who has had similar experiences? Any tips or tricks? 

On top of that, I just have made little mistakes that I shouldn’t be making such as putting down a flush without the cap on a non sterile surface or little things of that nature. Does that feeling of thinking you’re not gonna be a good nurse go away?

You are a student.
Your job is to learn.
It sounds like you are doing your job.

TheMoonisMyLantern, ADN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU. Has 14 years experience.

Everything is going to be okay, you are not dumb, you are learning and you will be learning every day no matter how experienced you become.

I still have days where it seems like everything I touch turns to crap, and some days I just feel like a bull in a china shop. I've come to find though, that most people experience that and it doesn't make you incompetent. It just makes you human! 

Learn and move on, my friend.


Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

20 hours ago, Nick Forthofer said:

Me and my preceptor

Who knows where all the lost pills go. Can I ask you something? I grew up in the Chicago School system and we spent weeks on grammar especially in the 60s. We also spent months on diagraming sentences, learning how to enunciate etc. I so realize there are so many other things specified to learn in school:  computer operating systems, critical thinking,financial matters etc 

I am old but I have practiced with some  nurses having poor grammar, especially on the phone to MDs. Some  have said it is cultural trait and we cannot correct them. BUT when I hear a nurse say to an MD, PT, OT that "he don't want to do it" I feel it reflects on our professionalism. BTW I hear grammatical errors in EVERY profession now. 


Specializes in LTC.

london - was that public school or Catholic school?


Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

3 minutes ago, amoLucia said:

public school or Catholic school?

That particular time in my life it was CPS - public. I can still remember, sitting in my desk seat for days on end, as the teacher pulled blackboards that were kind of like 'garage doors' over our cloak room and we started once again with the drill. 


Specializes in LTC.

... and the times tables??? :)

I did well in both!

But OP's post does make me wonder if there is some 'great big lost pill blackhole' somewhere out there in the universe.

OP - we all make mistakes. And the DUMBER ones are the ones that stick out so prominently in our memories. Remember it, learn from it, and move on.. You'll be joining a great big club of all of us who've BTDT.

And welcome to AN. If that's your real name, I usually suggest to new members to consider changing it to something more anonymous here on social media.

CommunityRNBSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community health. Has 3 years experience.

When I was in nursing school, I was in the med room with the RN and I was going to administer all the oral meds. They were in blister packs. Inexplicably, I put the whole handful in my pocket. Then when we got into the room and started scanning them, I had them all... except the Percocet. I fished in all my pockets and eventually found it, no harm done. But I remember the RN looking like her heart had stopped as I groped all my pockets. Lesson learned. 

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

There must be a black hole in the universe full of lost pills and the random socks eaten by the dryer. As long as there have been nurses and pills a nurse has lost a pill somewhere along the way.  Unless it's a controlled substance we just get another one and move on.  If it's a controlled though, well then the semi-panicked hunt is on!


Specializes in LTC.

Semi-panic??? For me, it was always full-fledge 'fight or flight' syndrome. Nasal flaring, pupils dilating, tachycardia, cold sweats, etc!

Only one time in my 30+ year career, could I NOT account for a short percoset count. I truly believe that the previous nurse was just sloppy about signing; I didn't suspect anything. She was a classic airhead!

But that panic feeling ...