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Struggling a bit- how to remain optimistic?

by AliciaGoose AliciaGoose (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Medical-Surgical. Has 3 years experience.

Hi y'all! Recently had a few near misses (which is fairly unlike me, especially because the unit I've transferred to is much more relaxed) regarding patient safety and for the past few days I haven't been able to shake this "I'm a failure feeling". Though no error caused harm to a patient, I'm used to getting stellar employee reviews and letting patients and management down through near misses has affected my days off. 

I understand people make mistakes, but does anyone have advice on how to feel forgiving of the self in a perfectionist environment?

NightNerd, MSN, RN

Specializes in CMSRN, tele, palliative, psych. Has 7 years experience.

When you are used to being on top of your game, it can be hard to accept your own mistakes! What would you say to a friend or coworker who made the mistakes you did? Chances are, you'd be pretty understanding and try to help them put things in perspective, so try to do the same for yourself.

If this was a recent transfer, you're still likely adjusting to some of the differences in routine from your previous unit, which can throw off anyone's usual practice. Give yourself time to take it slow and remember that there is still some newness here.

Since there was no harm to a patient, is it possible to be a little grateful for these near misses? Did you learn anything from them, or did they reinforce any points or safety measures for you? When I've made my own little mistakes, this has been surprisingly helpful. I don't have to feel defensive about what happened because yeah, I messed up - but the experience is going to strengthen my nursing practice and I will protect my patients that much better in the future.

Finally, think about what you've done exceptionally well recently, and what you've consistently done a good job at. It's easy to obsess over the negative without giving ourselves any credit for the positive. Remember, you have likely done more good than you will ever know for your patients. Try to acknowledge the ways in which you are already a great nurse; it will help balance your picture of yourself.