Has anyone made a medication error and *not* get fired for it?

  1. I screwed up tonight, plain and simple. I had meds pulled for two patients and started giving meds to one patient. I pulled the pills in their packages out of the cup and told him each med and their dosage. The second after he put the cup to his lips, an "oh ****" comes out from under my breath. I realized that what I had given him was intended for the other patient and that I had made an error. I walked back to the nursing station, told another nurse, told the charge nurse, called the doc, got an order for Benadryl to prevent any undue reactions, however unlikely, filled out an occurrence report, documented in the chart (without saying it was an error) and made it through the rest of my shift. Everyone was telling me that it was okay and I did the right thing, but I'm terrified. I'm thinking about calling my supervisor in the morning and admitting my screw-up before she gets the wrong idea. Is this nuts?
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 29, '18 : Reason: spelling
  2. Visit pinkiepieRN profile page

    About pinkiepieRN, BSN, MSN, RN

    Joined: Feb '13; Posts: 386; Likes: 408
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in adult psych, LTC/SNF, child psych


  3. by   Poochiewoochie
    I know the nurse who gave my Mom the wrong medication one day wasn't fired from the NH.
  4. by   4chun_cookie
    I've seen nurses accidentally give Oral meds into a peripheral IV, into a intracardiac Line (right into the left Atrium). neither Nurses were fired. Mistakes happen.
  5. by   TheCommuter
    Plenty of medication errors take place at my place of employment. To my knowledge, no nurse has has their employment terminated over any med errors they might have made.
  6. by   blondy2061h
    I've made several medications over the years I've been a nurse, including a fairly minor one while I was still on orientation. My most severe error, which resulted in an overdose of a narcotic that was several times higher than ordered, I went to a cause analysis meeting over and they ended up changing labeling because of it. No blame was laid. Like most errors, there was a slew of events leading up to it.
  7. by   nrsang97
    I too have made a few errors in my 12 years of being a nurse. I was not fired or even pulled into the office. Everything was fine. I learned from each one of them. I never pull 2 patients meds at the same time because of this. I did once and made an error.
  8. by   RNsRWe
    I once had an instructor tell me that any nurse with any real experience who tells you she/he hasn't ever made a med error is either lying or too stupid to know the difference!

    I've seen the liars....and the ones too stupid to know what they messed up

    Me? You bet I've made errors. And danged thankful no one was ever hurt during my learning curve!
  9. by   anon456
    I have made an error and I know several nurses who have. All of us were counseled on it, recognized what led to the error, and were not fired over it. It is a good environment to work in-- and it encourages honesty rather than hiding it for fear of being fired. In the case of my error which a few others had also made the same one, the hospital changed how that med was distributed. Instead of the nurses drawing up the dose from a vial of extremely concentrated med, the pharmacy would draw it up and dilute it out into ready to use vials and then deliver it to bedside as needed. I am glad I was honest and came forward and so did the other nurses because it did lead to a change in practice.
  10. by   Vespertinas
    My advice... you know you made a mistake and you did everything right to fix it. Keep this between you and the only people who have to know about it. You filled out an occurrence form and that will get back to your supervisor. He/she may process it and move on or may want to speak to you. Leave that alone, too.
  11. by   MotherRN
    Quote from nrsang97
    I never pull 2 patients meds at the same time because of this. I did once and made an error.
    Yep. Did that my first weekend ever as a nurse in LTC. I even had their names written on the cups and had both with me when I gave the wrong one to the wrong person. Just don't do it. Never care meds for more than one person at a time. Too easy to mix up or leave behind where someone else can get into it.
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    There are 2 kinds of nurses: those who have committed a med error, and those who will.

    Unless the error was a particularly egregious one, e.g. allowing a full IV bag to run wide open in a CHF patient who's already drowning in their own fluids, VERY few nurses will be termed over a single mistake. You realized what happened right away, you followed the prescribed steps, you notified everyone who needed to be notified, and (I presume) you monitored the patient for adverse effects. And I'll bet you'll never make this mistake again. Please don't get bogged down in self-recrimination---if you pass meds long enough, something like this always happens. Hold your head up, and move forward!
  13. by   loriangel14
    I have made a handful of errors ( none of them serious thank goodness) and I have never gotten in any kind of trouble at all.I have written up an incident report on myself when I discovered the mistake.Where I work incident reports are not used to punish but just to track incidents and why they happen. Sometimes things are done differently as the result of a mistake.
  14. by   Isitpossible
    yup, made med error, informed my DON- she advised me to call physician,call family, and file incident report. that was all, her response, "im sure you'll never make that mistake again."