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Reporting med errors...

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Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Spine, M/S. Has 6 years experience.

So I commited my first med error, I feel horrible and own up to it. I pushed glucagon via IV instead of I'm into a hypoglycemic patient. This error did not result in any adverse reactions to the patient. I reported this incident to my charge nurse and filed an incident report with risk management. As a result of this incident, I've been informed by my nurse mgr that I may be terminated and should know something by this Monday. So, I'm curious, how many of you nurses out there would fess up and report a med error if it meant possibly losing your job?


Specializes in LTC.

I don't understand why you would be terminated if this is your first incident. I've heard of far more serious errors where the nurse was not terminated. My own sister had a major med error and was not terminated. A clinical instructor I had worked with a nurse that hung undiluted K+ and was not terminated. I'm not saying there shouldn't be repercussions but these things are going to happen.


Has 25ish years experience.

I would not accept termination without a major fight. That's total BS! I would google non-punitive culture for patient safety and become well versed in the benefits and advantages. I would find out who the Patient Safety Officer is at your facility and involve them. If you do not have a patient safety committee, then volunteer to serve on a task force to create one.

Oh and P.S. I love your user name :)

I had my first med error two weeks ago. I gave 2 narc to pts instead of one without MD's order but I told my supervisor about it. I got a written warning. I am new and I didn't get proper guidance. That is what spares me from getting fire. Are you new?


Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Spine, M/S. Has 6 years experience.

Nope, not new. I've been an RN going on 5 yrs. I appreciate the responses, but still haven't received an answer to my question?


Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

This is why nurses fear reporting med errors...severely punitive policies. It's ridiculous to think a nurse (or anyone, for that matter) should never make a med error. I've made them, and as long as I work, I will have to guard against making more. I'm not perfect.


Has 25ish years experience.

Forgot to answer the question.

Without hesitation and for numerous reasons my answer is yes.

imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

I'd report the error. It's an honor thing.

You lose your job, you retain your integrity.


Specializes in LTC, Sub-Acute, Hopsice. Has 26 years experience.

Wow. I have never heard of a nurse being fired for a med error unless they had been written up for errors in the past. Fired for one error? That would make me think about 20 times about reporting it. None of us is perfect and with the constant interruptions inherent in the workplace it just makes it that much more impossible to be perfect.

I would like to smile and day "Of course I would report myself" and damn the consequences, but as the sole support for my family (one who is in college and a disabled husband who relies on my insurance) I have to think about the ramifications of losing my job vs. being the perfect nurse that his hospital seems to expect.


Specializes in critical care, PACU. Has 2 years experience.

I would still report it. Most units don't seem to be like that. Meeting with such punishment is going to deter many from reporting. I hope you don't lose your job. Glad the patient was okay.

I am sorry you are going through something like this.

Very recently there was an article in The Times?? regarding the same. The article said there were XX (number) of med errors a year.

Because nurses are so over taxed at work I am afraid it will happen more.

As far as reporting it, I would, myself. Because of the strong possibility of termination I can understand that there is probably a very high percentage of errors that are not reported.

Sorry I did not answer your question and just added my 2 cents.

Hope you keep your job and that sometime facilities see that stressing nurses more and more hurts nobody but the patients and themselves in the long run. Probabaly will never happen.


Has 36 years experience.

I have self-reported more than once in my 25+ years, been orally warned, and been 'written up', but never terminated. This should be viewed as a way to learn how 'not' to make this error again.

If every nurse who ever made an error was terminated, no one would eventually be working. Unless this is part of a pattern then there should not be any issue of termination.

I am sorry you are working with an administrator who believes in punishment instead of continual improvement.

Best wishes!!!

I think we have to face the reality of a termination if such a thing happens.

It just depends of the company policy for 1st offense. But admitting mistakes is more for the patient than for yourself because detrimental consequences could have happened and thank God this wasn't the case.

Honesty will get you a long way even if it hits you hard but in the long run you can live with yourself.

Reporting it could get you fired. Covering it up will lead to charges of false documentation and can actually in the end worst case scenario lead to criminal charges. Heck yeah, I report my med errors.

If they want to fire you, they'll use this as an excuse. If they don't want to fire you, you won't get fired for this.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Yes, I would (and have) reported it.

NicuGal, MSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience.

Yes...you should always 'fess up...the consequences can be worse if they find out you lied or didn't tell. I find it hard to believe they will fire you, and if they try, I'd get a lawyer and fight that. Have they fired every single nurse, pharmacist and doctor that have made a mistake? Probably not. And there was not an adverse outcome and this was not a sentinel event, which they can punish you for.


Specializes in Med-Surg; Telemetry; School Nurse pk-8.

When I've made an error, I've reported it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The only nurses who do not make mistakes are liars.


Has 15 years experience.

wooh said:
If they want to fire you, they'll use this as an excuse. If they don't want to fire you, you won't get fired for this.

It all really boils down to this.