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med errors?


I was just wondering,.. have all nurses made a med error, and if you did,- did you report it?, Or was it found by someone else? how did it play out? and if you did made an error , what was the factor that caused it, or factors?

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

everyone makes a med error sooner or later. Try to learn from it so it is not repeated. I gave an overdose of morphine IV to a patient because I got in a hurry and did not waste the difference. I started o2 then called the MD who assessed the patient. No ill effects because of his size, but it scared me A LOT.

kessadawn, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatric critical care. Has 7 years experience.

I made a med error as a result of my rushing around as well, and having lookalike bottles in the med fridge made it even easier to screw up. I called the doc as soon as I realized, the patient was fine, but it scared the heck out of me enough to take my time EVERY time I prepare meds!

RedhairedNurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Ortho.

I've made very minor errors, like giving a med a little too late, or maybe a med that fell off the mar that didn't get given, or even a med that was DCd. It happens to every body I'm sure, but it's best to minimize and double check the mars. I've learned from my mistakes but none that have caused the patient any adverse reaction.


Specializes in Tele, ICU, ED, Nurse Instructor,. Has 4 years experience.

I have started a Heparin drip per protocol and started at the wrong rate and this patient did not get a bolus. Did not know til I had the results of the next PTT and called the MD because it was a critical value greater than 200. I did an incident report on myself. I explain to the doctor what happened and I continue to monitor the patient for bleeding. I just tell myself to be more careful and slow down.

LouisVRN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg.

I forgot to hang a heparin gtt on a post-surgical patient. Someone else had, in an effort to help me save time, done my 24 hour chart checks for me. Unfortunately I took there saying "everything's good" as just that, no additional interventions needed. I felt for sure they would have told me if something vital needed to be done, but I know ultimately it was my error for not checking the chart myself. The day shift nurse actually found the error and completed the ERS report for me. The patient was actually in the hospital several weeks because of uncontrolled bleeding and being a new nurse at the time I couldn't help but think that I had in some way irrevocably harmed her.

I must say though, it has made me meticulous about my charts, I'm known for it. And as far as medication errors that I find, I'd say currently its about 1/day-1/week... scary :confused:

ETA I would say you are always more likely to make a medication error when something interrupts your routine. We all have ways we like to do things, if for example, I'm called for a beeping IV and in the middle of taking meds to hang for another patient, I've learned its often times easier for me to know for sure I won't make a mistake if I complete my original task first. Secondly, you learn quite quickly who you can and can't trust on your opposite shift as far as leaving you a mess. Always CYA...if something doesn't feel write, if it doesn't logically make sense, question it, no one is perfect - we all make mistakes, but as nurses we are the last like of defense to the patients


Has 6 years experience.

I think that the only nurses who have never made a med error are either very new nurses who have only give a couple dozen meds, or nurses who never worked. Sooner or later, everyone makes some type of error. Honesty about the error is the best policy.


Specializes in Critical Care, Cardiology, Hematology,. Has 5 years experience.

I left a piggyback clamped before and gave a pt a 100ml bolus and the drug late once i relized it. that made me feel kinda stupid.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

Once I hung the wrong antibiotic on a post-abdominal surgery pt; she was supposed to get Zosyn and I hung Mefoxin instead. I wrote an incident report, called the doc, and the pt was fine. The doc's actual words to me were, "She's probably better off on Mefoxin anyway, and if this is the worst thing that happens today, it's a good day."

Another time I gave a couple standard antepartum meds to a pt that was indeed an antepartum but wasn't my pt. (Rooms next door to each other.) So in theory, I gave them to the wrong pt, as the meds I pulled were for MY pt. That yanked my chain a bit as well....but I just let the nurse who had that pt know so she didn't get double dosed.

I've also forgotten to open the antibiotic and mix it with the piggyback it's attached to, and my pt ended up getting 100ml NS for her cellulitus. THAT made me feel brilliant.

I really believe that if if you're working a nurse for long enough, you will make a med error. The best thing to do is notify all the proper people, do what you can to fix it, and learn from it.


Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

I think that the only nurses who have never made a med error are either very new nurses who have only give a couple dozen meds, or nurses who never worked. Sooner or later, everyone makes some type of error. Honesty about the error is the best policy.

Or nurses who are liars.

You cannot do this job without eventually making a med error. The odds are just stacked too much against you.


Specializes in Home Care.

My favorite med error is signing the MAR but not giving the med because it isn't in the med cart. Or having to pop a med out of another patient's card. This happens more often than you'd think possible.