Survey: Are you confident that your nursing colleagues are competent?

Nurses General Nursing


  • Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele.

Here are the results of last months survey question

Are you confident that your nursing colleagues are competent? :


Please feel free to read and post any comments that you have right here in this discussion thread by clicking the "Post Reply" button.



235 Posts

I work with a few nurses that I know are not competent. I have worked in critical care for a long time, and have seen some near fatal mistakes that were caused by a nurse's incompetence. I have seen a nurse infuse an entire liter of TPN over an hour on a patient who was in renal failure and diabetic. Another nurse took the wrong patient for a CT scan, and hung a cardiac drug in place of an antibiotic. I am not talking about a rare mistake, I am talking about a few nurses who have a pattern of med errors, incorrect documentation, and inattention to patients. Most of the nurses I work with are competent and hard working. But there are a few who are lazy, inattentive, or just plain lacking in knowledge and critical thinking skills, and these few scare me to death.

nimbex, RN

387 Posts

yes, on occasion we do get them. What I do is first try verbal interventions with the person, with mentoring and guidance...

If they are scary despite all attempts I alert manager and begin to document. I always assign them the safest patients and follow closely behind them, I'm the charge so I can do this.

If I've documented, documented and scarry stuff still happens, I call the manager and ask if they've received all the documentation I have provided and ask what the plan is...

If I don't get an answer that is needed I have stated "I will be forewarding all the documentation(I keep copy) to your boss, as I'm sure you are busy". This, although a last step, IS the chain of command, and moraly, legally necessary with the occasional folk, if manager is waiting a bit too long.

Tough to do... so is sitting through depositions


772 Posts

in the past have worked with some scarey we have a great crew here...LR


6,011 Posts


For the most part I must say yes.


Had a guy infuse 250 cc of Dopamine as a minibag over an hour's time.....he was the "RN Owner" of one of the Nsg Agencies & couldn't find a nurse so he took the shift. He didn't know what dopamine was.

Had another nurse sign out abx minibags and take them to the bathroom and empty them instead of hanging them.

I saw a nurse actually SAY hmmm this pill is blue, it must be the inderal. I got to stop that one.

We had one document good pedal pulses on a bilat AKA. She didn't know what a pedal pulse was, but was afraid to ask.

One documented Patient continually passing liquid stools. (Patient had been dead at least 45 minutes...too busy for vitals I guess).

Oh well


333 Posts

Specializes in correctional, psych, ICU, CCU, ER.

I have worked with some nurses who were REAL dillies!!!

One was 'orally servicing ' some inmates, one was doing more, then telling us she couldn't come to work (leaving the shift uncovered) because she lent her car to someone and on and on, began to sound like a cheep novel, finally quit after she found out that internal affairs was investigating her, one was a convicted drug user, (says so much for deversion programs) and didn't disclose this on application, was left as the sole nurse with a med room of a hundred drugs.

And it goes on and on.

Mattigan, RN

175 Posts

Nope, I work with some scary ones.

mrs. cynical

4 Posts

The scarey thing...there's alot more we DON'T see, than we do. I don't have time to follow my co-workers around. I always, always recommend to my patients and their families to have someone stay with them. Not only to help them with the necessities of life, but to ask questions. I'd rather have a family member question me, put me on the spot and make me double check, than to kill someone. Of course, this is a "doubled-edge sword". If I really screwed up the family is likely to go to managment and I could possilby lose my job. Managment doesn't want to hear that I have 9 patients on a M/S/trauma/renal/tele floor (3-11). I do double and triple check, but living in reality and being a human, there are times that mistakes are going to happen, AND as nurses working in these conditions, we are all set up for failure. For as much as family members can be a PIA, I prefer to use them to my advantage- they are my forth check. (Plus the patients can have their water, soda, ice...; instead of waiting and possibly not getting it at all.)

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

I almost answered "NO" to this question, but instead answered "YES"....very shakily of course. :o

I have worked with some of the finest nurses I'd ever hope to have worked with. I have also worked with nurses who must "test well" but lack the ability to utilize that which they tested on............their nursing skills and capacity to exercise critical thinking skills are FARRRRRR below par.....and that's putting it quite mildly. :rolleyes:

Yes....there are some very scary:eek: nurses taking care of sick people today. Many of them need to be patients themselves, but....

I've worked with much better nurses in military hospitals and military medical centers than any civilian hospital I have ever worked in. Perhaps that has to do with the tight screening and strict qualifications applied to each of their nurses.....both military and civilian nurses alike.

I had the unfortunate privilege of sending an agency nurse home one night due to her "lack of nursing skills....both hands on and mental abilities". She wasn't on duty two hours before I called her in for a private session, and excused her from the shift. I notified the night supervisor as to why I sent her home, and that was that.....never to have her back....not on my floor.

I've also precepted nursing students from both BSN and ADN programs who I wouldn't let take care of my family pet. :chuckle Sad, sad day when you get nurses like this, but I gave them all I could of myself as a nurse, and if they still concerned me at the end of precepting them, I would talk to them in the NM's office in regards to suggestions I felt were warranted, giving them my honest professional opinion, and leave the rest up to the NM to handle. I did them a regrets.

NOT everyone is cut out to be a nurse, I don't care if they were able to "pass" the NCLEX and somehow get a license to practice patient care. Recognize who you are, what you do as a nurse, and what scares you.....evaluate yourself often.....if it just isn't clicking for you like you thought nursing's time to open up the other egg in your basket of goodies that you DO do well. :kiss :nurse:

nightingale, RN

2,404 Posts

Yikes! The stats are 78 % not feeling competent with their coworkers!



38,333 Posts

I agree with Mrs. Cynical. I believe what I have noticed is only the tip of the iceberg. What really sickens me is the prevalent lack of concern on the part of people who know better. It is one thing to be less than par b/c you are lacking in knowledge or experience, quite another to just plain not give a damn or excel in being lazy and getting paid for it. And to top it off, supervisors up to the DON will reward the slackers and punish the conscientious.

Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

This is a very sad comment on what we think of our collegues. I voted yes; because, for the most part, I work with an exceptional bunch of nurses. Yes, we DO have a few novice nurses, but they are given patients that they are capable of caring for; and our charge nurses have the time to make good and safe assignments for all of us, and the charge is also able to follow up on how the nurses are doing with their assignments and assist if necessary. I don't work with people who don't give a darn; those that did work here quickly found out that they had to THINK and WORK in our unit and have left for other places.

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