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"Mess Up" stories for New Nurse

Updated | Posted

Specializes in Med-Surg Float Pool.

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Hey everyone!

I am finally done with my NCLEX, passed, and am now an RN.  * cue party music, pop the champagne *

Now, I start my New Grad Nurse Residency in a few weeks. I have been selected to be part of the Med-Surg Float Pool which means that I will be trained on every floor in my hospital. I am very excited, but also very scared because I have to know basically every type of med-surg nursing.

I am wondering if you can share any stories of med-surg "mess ups" or "near misses" so that I can know to look out for these things! I would appreciate any wisdom 🙂

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg,CV. Has 36 years experience.

Does coming to work on night shift with my scrub pants on inside out count? 

No seriously, I would focus on safe med administration  with all the rights and 3 checks including name and DOB. Avoid short cuts and work arounds. Do one thing at a time, do it correctly, and then move on. And always clamp IV tubing (including blood tubing) and tube feeds. 

MedSurgRN2020, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg Float Pool.

20 minutes ago, nursej22 said:

Does coming to work on night shift with my scrub pants on inside out count? 

No seriously, I would focus on safe med administration  with all the rights and 3 checks including name and DOB. Avoid short cuts and work arounds. Do one thing at a time, do it correctly, and then move on. And always clamp IV tubing (including blood tubing) and tube feeds. 

Thanks for the advice! I know these are basic things that we learn in nursing school, but I messed up during clinicals on clamping the tubes ALL THE TIME! I learned my lesson to clamp them before doing anything else! 

J22, I thankfully don't have to work nights anymore, which is a good thing for everybody involved.  I once spent all shift wondering where my pockets went till I discovered I had my scrub pants on inside out. I learned a hard lesson a long time ago involving a new puppy, which is why I don't get dressed for work in the dark anymore. Some things are best discussed in private.

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

13 hours ago, MedSurgRN2020 said:

Hey everyone!

I am finally done with my NCLEX, passed, and am now an RN.  * cue party music, pop the champagne *

Now, I start my New Grad Nurse Residency in a few weeks. I have been selected to be part of the Med-Surg Float Pool which means that I will be trained on every floor in my hospital. I am very excited, but also very scared because I have to know basically every type of med-surg nursing.

I am wondering if you can share any stories of med-surg "mess ups" or "near misses" so that I can know to look out for these things! I would appreciate any wisdom 🙂

Not only new grad specific,  but float pool specific advice - never ever ever hesitate to state that you don't know something and ask for help.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

13 hours ago, MedSurgRN2020 said:

I am wondering if you can share any stories of med-surg "mess ups" or "near misses" so that I can know to look out for these things! I would appreciate any wisdom 🙂

Not medsurge, but psych: My first week as a new LPN at Weed Rover Township Hospital in March 1984, I made a med error.

I had merely mistakenly given the HS instead of the a.m. dose of imipramine.

Remember the TCAs, anyone?

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg,CV. Has 36 years experience.

3 hours ago, sevensonnets said:

J22, I thankfully don't have to work nights anymore, which is a good thing for everybody involved.  I once spent all shift wondering where my pockets went till I discovered I had my scrub pants on inside out. I learned a hard lesson a long time ago involving a new puppy, which is why I don't get dressed for work in the dark anymore. Some things are best discussed in private.

LOL. I don't know that I went all shift , but I do remember searching for my pockets. I suspect my coworkers noticed before I did and didn't let me know. 

CeciBean, ASN, RN

Specializes in MICU/CCU, SD, home health, neo, travel. Has 30 years experience.

On 1/28/2021 at 1:23 AM, nursej22 said:

Does coming to work on night shift with my scrub pants on inside out count? 

No seriously, I would focus on safe med administration  with all the rights and 3 checks including name and DOB. Avoid short cuts and work arounds. Do one thing at a time, do it correctly, and then move on. And always clamp IV tubing (including blood tubing) and tube feeds. 

Absolutely this. When I was new (and being bullied by my preceptor, but that's for another thread), I was trying to hurry because said preceptor was literally on my heels. I had two IV piggybacks of the same antibiotic, same dose, same time, different patients in adjoining rooms.  Preceptor got busy with something, told me to hurry up and go hang them and meet her in a third room because that patient was having some kind of problem, I forget what now. Well, wouldn't you know it, I hung the bags on the wrong patients. It was so crazy that night and I was so stressed that I didn't even notice. Preceptor didn't check behind me either. Somehow another one of the new grads, also a notorious bully, found out about it and spread it all over the floor. Needless to say, the rest of my time there was not pleasant and I ended up leaving. Do NOT allow yourself to be bullied! By ANYONE! And if you are, speak up, and furthermore, report it.

I applaud you for going to float pool. That's a really good way to learn, if a hard one. Hang in there.

JBMmom, MSN

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

I think float pool is a great way to learn many things! I wanted to get into ours, but because they get a large pay differential it's hard to get into. 

I don't want to rain on your parade, but there are just a couple things I would warn you about ahead of time. Floating between floors can make it a little harder build relationships with your fellow nurses because you don't share a "home base" in common. Don't be afraid to ask questions and be open to feedback and you should be fine. Also, sometimes float nurses are given the less desirable assignments, which can get frustrating. Make sure you speak up for yourself if things are truly unreasonable. 

As important as it is to clamp the IV tubing, make sure you unclamp it, too! 🙂

dorie43rn

Specializes in Critical Care.

ALWAYS check for a blood consent and order before giving blood, trust no one when they say the order is in and the consent is signed, go look yourself! If the lab says the blood is ready does not mean there is an order to transfuse! I caught this very near miss on someone.

SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 6 years experience.

Make sure that if a patient is requesting oxygen you hook up ALL of the oxygen tubing.  For example, as a brand new nurse, I had a patient request oxygen because he was experiencing some shortness of breath.  I assisted him with applying the nasal cannula.  However, my error was not ensuring the other end of the tubing was hooked up to the oxygen concentrator.  Therefore, he did not receive any oxygen.  Thankfully no harm was done as the patient's shortness of breath actually improved because he believed that he actually was receiving oxygen (think placebo effect) but definitely could have been problematic.  

Edited by SilverBells

Stay on your toes.