I am new to this site.
I joined because I am suffering from such depression and anxiety over a mistake I made as an RN 12 years ago, hoping to get some help and give help - so other nurses do not suffer from what I am going through.
While working on an Admission Unit at a local hospital 12 years ago, I had a patient, an older, alert, oriented woman that came through the ER and then to the Admission Unit ( we performed the initial assessment, obtained admission orders, began IV, gave initial meds etc).
She was being admitted, but I cannot recall why or the patient's name.
I did not do the initial assessment.
When her meds came up from pharmacy, I had to give them to her, and then she was transferred about 10 minutes later to her inpatient room. I gave her oral meds and a luer lock clear syringe also came up from pharmacy and I assumed that it was to be given through her IV. So I gave it through her IV line. After I gave it ( I cannot even remember the name of the med), the patient stated that she usually took that medicine by mouth at home.
Her husband was also present. I just said, "Oh you do?" I then looked at the MAR and it said that the medicine was to be given PO.
The patient was transferred to her inpatient room a few minutes after I gave the medicine and from when I noticed my error. I did NOT report my error to the patient or to the staff or to my supervisor.
I did NOT complete an incident report. I kept my mistake to myself.
I ended up quitting the job approximately 1 month later due to the stress of the job.
At that time, I reported my error to my Supervisor. But I did not recall any information ie: patient's name, date of incident, name of med etc. She said that there were no incidents that she could recall that were ever reported to her.
I have thought about this and my failure as a nurse through out the years, worrying about the patient. Two months ago, I even wrote a letter to the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital, identifying myself and explaining the incident.
I feel like such a terrible nurse. I don't know why I didn't report it at the time, busy? afraid of looking stupid? being yelled at?
In any case, there is NO excuse, I put myself first and to this day I worry that I may have been responsible for a patient's death.
The Chief Medical Director did write me back and said that there was an incident where the pharmacy sent an IV dose instead of the oral to the floor, even though the MAR stated PO. But we don't know if this was "my" patient for sure.
The Medical Director asked if he could use my story, without using my name, to encourage nurses and doctors to speak up about their mistakes. There are burdens when we don't report.
I am hoping nurses out there, ALWAYS report your mistakes.
Do not feel like you are alone making them and don't worry about looking stupid. It is not worth the suffering that I am going through.
I have even taken a medical leave from my current job and plan to start counseling. I have not been able to eat and it is affecting my family. I have even talked with a priest and I still don't forgive myself.
PLEASE report ALL mistakes.
And hopefully, there are in-services and supportive supervisors for staff, to encourage reporting and to know that they are not alone in making mistakes.