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New Nurse Mistakes

Posted
ashley785 ashley785 (New) New

What is your most regrettable mistake that you have made as a new nurse? What would you go back and do?

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Not getting my masters before life got in the way.

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

I do recommend a search before posting on any website. It's possible that a search was done and it was found that the existing posts were dated and it's perfectly fine to revive a subject.

This forum is suppose to be a website where people feel free to post. I think it's absolutely OK for a new post on this subject or any other subject that has been beaten to the ground. If you see the title and think "OMG; not again!" than you don't have to read it. Asst Admins and Admins look out for us all on this website and take appropriate action when needed.

:)

Edited by AN Admin Team

Asking one's preceptor first thing where the clincal and reference books are, if there's references on the computers. Really knowing what meds you are giving a patient. Making sure you check vitals before giving medications. And to get in as many head to toe assessments as you can.

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 10 years experience.

Let's see, 15 months in, on orientation for the job I'm currently at, and I make a med error for a partial package. The patient needed to be monitored, but no harm. I could have been terminated because I was on 90 day probation, but my manager fought for me. Apparently, there were people on the IR committee who *did* want to fire me. Now, I keep a pill cutter in my pocket, and cut the pill immediately after scanning it.

Still new at my current job, and I did not question the procedure for when a new dialysis order comes in. Thought the right people would see it. Near the end of shift, thought, "Why hasn't he been dialyzed yet?" Turns out I should have called our dialysis contractor when the order came in. Patient did get dialyzed that evening, but I should have facilitated it hours earlier. It's now one of the first things I mention to agency or other floats working with me.

Waited too long to do a discharge on a patient to a new nursing home. Thought everything was in order. Turns out they wouldn't take him because some paperwork was missing. If I had done the discharge earlier, the SW would have been in the office to fix it. The attending was ****** that he had to stay another day. Expensive mistake. Now I try to discharge immediately unless it's near a meal time. I don't discharge nursing home patients right before a meal because the facility will most likely not have a tray available.

Not life-threatening mistakes, but they still made my stomach churn. Wanted to give a variety of errors that could happen as a nurse, not just med errors.

Many of the OPs questions are right there available- immediately at her fingertips. Many people do not do their own research which frankly helps people to learn in my opinion. In addition, it is always better to phrase a question similar to, "I looked at A, B, and C but I still do not understand because of... blah... blah." People tend to be far more responsive when they see that the person asking a question has taken time to evaluate the problem themselves. I have seen others say that part of what it takes to be a good nurse is to be a critical thinker... part of developing critical thinking is to dig for answers in my opinion.

Edited by AN Admin Team

Yes, I have questions that could be researched easily but I can't access everything on this site until I've started a certain number of conversations. I do respect that you experienced responders are being such good gatekeepers. I didn't know it would ruffle so many feathers, guess I should have done my research on that one too.

I held a pt's Lactulose because he had frequent stooling. I didn't realize at the time that the Lactulose was to keep his ammonia level from getting too high, and that frequent stools are needed for that. He was a liver failure pt.

Ashley,

You didn't "ruffle anyone's feathers"... Nobody is attacking you. You are not understanding that GrnTea is actually trying to help. Perhaps it came off a bit rough, but nevertheless what she is saying is true and it would benefit you to listen to her. When I was preparing for the TEAS exam I wasn't even a member of this website and I was searching the archives for information. I did not even need to post because my questions were pretty much answered already.

I have only been a member for about a week and I am certainly no "gatekeeper". If you cannot see in my response that I was providing constructive criticism then well... I guess we have nothing else to discuss.

Regards,

LW

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

To dudette10 - TY for thinking of us and our pts in LTC re discharge and meals. Not too many think of us that way and it is appreciated. Usually getting a meal isn't too difficult for breakfast & lunch. Dinner may be a problem if the kitchen has closed but we usually manage.

BuckyBadgerRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in HH, Peds, Rehab, Clinical. Has 4 years experience.

Here's one you just made....

Grntree is one of the friendliest, most helpful REALIST on this board. Way to make an impression. On all of us....

Why not ignore questions you don't want to answer.

BuckyBadgerRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in HH, Peds, Rehab, Clinical. Has 4 years experience.

Or "is this a HIPPA violation?" And yes, I intentionally misspelled "HIPAA" because that drives me as crazy and the constant threads on the subject!

Just like the 10000 nclex threads asking the same darn question. It's just frustrating.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Thinking back, the biggest mistake I made in my early days as an RN was to try to "force" families to face reality about their loved one's illness and terminal state. I have personal reasons for being a BIG palliative care proponent and I was too blunt in trying to introduce the concept to a family more than once. I am better now about offering support without giving false hope and being ready, when the family indicates THEY are ready, to provide information about our palliative care program. I have learned that until they are ready, my pushing the idea will only be met with hostility and lost trust that will taint their reaction to ALL of the medical team from that point forward.

Now I meet them where they are, answer honestly but gently (ie: Scenario is Stage IV pancreatic cancer with liver and kidneys both shutting down. Them: But this will get better, he will come off dialysis eventually, right? Me: Unfortunately it is likely this is a permanent change given his overall state of health. *long pause while shock registers on their face* *wait to see if they ask more questions or drop the curtain of denial back down*) I have learned it is best handled a lot like children asking about where babies come from....they will ask as much as they are ready to receive. I let them lead the way rather than taking the first question as a sign that I should introduce the idea of hospice. This was HARD for me. I hate torturing people, especially the elderly. But until a family is ready, it does nothing but injure them.

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

OK.......Admin here....stepping in with my Community Manager hat on.

All the "old" members here know that questions have been repeated time and time again. True, there are many threads to refer to.

But.......everyone was new here at one time......even you "older" members. You asked questions that I'm sure were not "unique" and had probably been asked many times before you came on the scene. How would you have felt if your questions had been met with some of the remarks that are posted in this thread and many others, especially in recent days??

It is not the information being shared, but the manner, language and attitude that is being used. We want to welcome new members and their questions. We should be happy to tell them about all the wonderful information that has been shared over the years, ......and make them feel welcomed to our community of so many wonderful and informed members.

Yes there are even times when questions asked may be part of a homework assignment. No one is telling you to do anyone's homework, but again, you need to be careful of the attitude and language you are using.

And by the way......I'm sure this is not the first time you have heard this. But some things are worth repeating......and need to be repeated.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

What is your most regrettable mistake that you have made as a new nurse? What would you go back and do?
This has nothing to do with patient care...

During my first year of nursing, I regret that I did not have strong personal boundaries and a sense of self-efficacy. Some coworkers sensed this weakness in me, so they pounced like a pack of dogs and were mean at times.

Over the past four or five years my personal boundaries have become three times as strong. I also have a high sense of self-efficacy. And you know what? Other people can sense this, so no one messes with me anymore.

I've learned the hard way that rude people, bullies and passive-aggressive folks pick on those whom they perceive to be the weakest links. If you carry yourself with dignity and lay down the boundaries in the very beginning of the interaction, mean people will usually move on to another easier target.

Karou

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 1 years experience.

Not verifying a patients home medications prior to sending them to pre-op. I spent all night on the phone with the physician determining the cause of unexplained tachycardia. Interventions, reassessments, phone calls. Finally pre-op calls after he is there to tell me that the patient had not taken his blocker.

Yep. Now I verify home medications even if is not have time to do the rest of the admission assessment. Lesson learned.

Also, not checking a foley bag for over half of my shift, then seeing it full with bright bloody urine.

Now I always check my tubes (foley, JP, NGT, ect...) every time I to in the patients room.

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Seriously, anytime I Google anything for research, the most frequent top hits I get are from allnurses. That's how I found this site. So, I've been using the search function since even before I joined. It is entirely possible to search for any topic (and you will get results going back years upon years) and there are no restrictions to this. I have found so many awesome insights and resources this way.

However...........

I think with the way social media and forums have evolved, there is some kind of intrinsic value to creating a new post on a topic and the idea of "let me check if this has been asked before" tends to be overshadowed by this drive to create something "original/fresh" (soon, if it isn't already, social media will be regarded as some form of self-esteem boosting strategy). Just my two cents as to why this happens here and on other forums as well. :whistling:

Edited by AN Admin Team

tnbutterfly Admin OK.......Admin here....stepping in with my Community Manager hat on.

All the "old" members here know that questions have been repeated time and time again. True, there are many threads to refer to.

But.......everyone was new here at one time......even you "older" members. You asked questions that I'm sure were not "unique" and had probably been asked many times before you came on the scene. How would you have felt if your questions had been met with some of the remarks that are posted in this thread and many others, especially in recent days??

It is not the information being shared, but the manner, language and attitude that is being used. We want to welcome new members and their questions. We should be happy to tell them about all the wonderful information that has been shared over the years, ......and make them feel welcomed to our community of so many wonderful and informed members.

Yes there are even times when questions asked may be part of a homework assignment. No one is telling you to do anyone's homework, but again, you need to be careful of the attitude and language you are using.

And by the way......I'm sure this is not the first time you have heard this. But some things are worth repeating......and need to be repeated.

THANK YOU, tnbutterfly Admin!

I've been disturbed since venturing out of the NCLEX forum of the tone of some very active members who've been here a long time. They've not been very helpful or welcoming to new members with their responses and then others pile on and comment in the same vein and/or Like their not helpful, not welcoming post.

Nobody forces anyone to come on here to read or answer any post yet some of them act like this is their job and they're being forced to deal with such lazy students and their nonsense. It's certainly not about teaching the newbie critical thinking skills nor the value of the search tool. I'm not sure what it's about.

I have a BS in Education and taught children and adults for years and was paid to deal with lazy students and their nonsense but never, ever treated them with a haughty attitude or disdain when they were asking for help.

I hope your post to them will put an end to it since it just isn't right.