I feel like such a failure. This is my first post, the reason I'm posting was really what prompted me to join the forum. I'm hoping someone can give me some advice on where to go from here because I feel like I don't have anyone I can talk to about it at the moment and I'm so ashamed and disappointed in myself.
I've been qualified and practising for 5 months, the ward I am currently assigned to is a Cardiac/Diabetes ward and I have been working there for almost 3 months now. It was nearing the end of a dayshift and I was attending to a patient when I was alerted to the fact that an elderly patient behind me was having some sort of seizure episode. The patient had been returning from the bathroom and was mobilising when the episode occurred. When I turned my attention to the unwell patient I could see that she had become rigid and tremulous, an auxillary nurse had caught her before she fell and was struggling with her weight. I immediatley assisted her in getting the patient onto her bed and ensured that she was on her side, maintaining her airway.
That's when I completely lost it, I don't know what happened and I can't understand it but I completely panicked and froze. My mind went blank and I just felt helpless. This has never happened to me to that extend before, I am not a very confident person and I do have a tendency to panic in emergencies but despite this I have always acted appropriatley and maintained the safety of my patient. I have never been the most senior member of staff or the only registered nurse present at such an event and I think it could be possible that I felt added pressure to take control and was unable to do so. Immediatley prior to getting the patient on her side 2 other auxillaries arrived to help, they held the patient down to maintain her safety. I assisted in this, but it did not take 4 people. I do not remeber how long passed before one of the auxillaries shouted for medical staff who were present at the other side of the ward. At this point I became more in control of myself and was able to retrieve the equipment necessary to obtain the patient's vital signs. When I returned with the equipment, a more senior staff nurse was present and in the process of administering o2 therapy. Space around the bedside was limited and lessened further with the no. of people present - 1 Dr, 3 auxillary nurses, myself and a more senior staff nurse - I felt very much on the periphery and unable to fight my way through to my patient, as a result, I passed the equipment onto the other staff nurse for her to administer. As I was so far away from my patient I was unable to provide her with any verbal support or assertain her neurological status, this was also left to the other staff nurse. Thankfully the patient's observations were stable, including o2 levels, Cardiac monitor showed SR and patient stabilised quickly.
The most frustrating and disappointing thing is the fact that I knew what to to do. I knew that my patient's vital signs should have been taken ASAP and adequate oxygenation was priority. That is basic nursing care and I cannot understand what happened and why I was unable to act. I had 3 untrained but experienced members of staff who I should have delegated to, I should have stayed with my patient and requested that they retrieve all equipment needed and alerted medical staff. I put my patient at risk and this is not acceptable, I am so so thakful that my patient stabilised quickly but there was potential for arrest and this fact terrifies me.
Although I still consider myself to be a very junior nurse, I have been qualified for 5 months and cannot let that fact excuse me for my inability to act. I was unable to take control of myself let alone the situation or other members of staff. It was like I was frozen and could not physically move or think, I have been unable to sleep or eat since it happened and cannot stop thinking about it.
At the time and for the rest of the shift my coalleagues did not act any differently towards me and what happened was not mentioned. My method of dealing with it was to put on a brave face and try to get through the rest of the shift without allowing it to affect my confidence. I felt the best way to prevent myself from breaking down was to rationalise that my patient was stable, no harm had came to her and I would try to learn from the experience and ensure that it would never happen again. In reflection I feel that this may have conveyed that I was unaware of how badly I handled the situation or that I did not appreciate my colleagues for stepping in and taking control when I was unable to do so. I know that this was unfair on them, particularly the untrained staff, and maybe I should have taken them aside and apologised and thanked them immediatley afterwards but I was aware of how much attention I had to focus on 'keeping it together' and felt that any discussion of what happened would lead to me becoming even more distressed and therefore of no benefit to my patients. I was also so ashamed and knew I was deserving of anger from colleagues who were in every right to critisice and I did not feel emotionally able to deal with that.
Four days after the incident I was called into the sister's office to discuss what had happened, that is when I found out that I had been reported to her by my colleagues for my lack of action. I fully understand that my colleagues are required to do this but I wish they had spoken to me about it also. I want to bring up what happened and discuss it with those present at the time but I do not know if this is appropriate or would be beneficial?? I feel I should apologise and I believe that my relationship with my colleagues has been affected, it would be understandable to assume that confidence in my ability as a nurse and my practice has been lost among fellow staff and that they will no longer be able to trust me as they should. I know I have let my patient down but I have also let down my colleagues, my manager and my ward. I don't know if this damage is repairable.
Should I take aside the 3 auxs involved and apologise for my lack of action and thank them for taking control when I could not?
Should I try and discuss what happened with the other staff nurse present, and make attempts to salvage any confidence or trust that she may still have in me?
Should I arrange a meeting with the ward manager to discuss how I am feeling and inform her of my plan of action to ensure I respond to any future situations with confidence and conpetence?
Should I try and allow my actions to speak and focus all attention on maintaining good practice in attempt to slowly regain my colleagues' trust rather than make apologes or give excuses?
Does anyone have any advice on how to stay confident after this? I'm dreading my next shift and I really want to be a good nurse. Any advice on how to stay calm in emergencies like this, or how to take control effectivley?
I am sorry that this post is so long and I am very grateful to those who have read it. I hope that posting about it is not in breach of any confidentiality, I have been careful not to metion any locations, names or other details. I would be so grateful for any advice, input or opinions. Please help