Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

When Nurses Make Fatal Mistakes

Nurses Article   (28,778 Views 28 Comments 789 Words)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

333 Likes; 10 Followers; 81 Articles; 224,728 Visitors; 1,685 Posts

advertisement

All practitioners make mistakes. To err is human. But how do we treat nurses who make deadly mistakes? You are reading page 3 of When Nurses Make Fatal Mistakes. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

333 Likes; 10 Followers; 81 Articles; 224,728 Visitors; 1,685 Posts

I made an error where there was no harm to the pt, it was still a significant error to me. I felt I had no one to talk to, no where to turn. I ended up seeing a therapist and with in a year leaving bedside nursing all together as the ptsd and trauma from being the 2nd victim is such a real thing.

I'm so sorry. It's really under recognized - the second victim and trauma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tnbutterfly is a BSN, RN and works as a Content/Community Director @ allnurses.

335 Likes; 13 Followers; 110 Articles; 192,322 Visitors; 5,282 Posts

Bumping this article back up in light of the current case involving a nurse being charged with reckless homicide as the result of a fatal medication error.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HomeBound has 20 years experience.

292 Likes; 1 Follower; 733 Visitors; 149 Posts

On 2/16/2017 at 4:23 AM, Nurse Beth said:

Not at all. By behavioral choices, I meant the difference between a nurse who recklessly does not follow procedure and a nurse who makes a mistake despite doing so.

and here she hits the nail squarely on the head.

"The difference is---one nurse recklessly (and in Vandy case, WILLFULLY) does not follow procedure---and the other makes a mistake despite doing so (follow policy/procedure)

I'm not quite sure why people here can defend someone who...oh....forges signatures, charts something done when it wasn't (and it ends up in harm to the pt), purposefully bypasses safety checks in a pyxis, purposefully bypasses reading a label (while reading other parts of the label?!), purposefully defies policy on procedures...

Well...all I can say is that since some here have zero problem with me forging signatures---and that I can just get off with a slap on the wrist---can I borrow your blank checkbook?   Because in reality---that's a felony.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LilPeanut has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a NNP.

203 Likes; 4,532 Visitors; 718 Posts

I've seen myself that the emphasis sometimes on "just culture" means it can push people to absolve negligence. In the rush to not have anyone be blamed, sometimes there is some blame that needs to be doled out.

And I dislike the term "second victim". Tertiary victim I think is a better term.

While I do know some people are haunted by errors, others could be able to brush them off if consistently reassured that it wasn't their fault, they held no culpability etc. There are some people who are very capable of absolving themselves when given any encouragement.

I like to think I helped convince a nurse who committed an error that was a systems issue and there were far greater errors than hers, and that it wasn't that she didn't do anything wrong, but that everyone did stuff wrong, and it was unfortunate that it just all lined up that way. If it had been different people in the area working with her, if the call sheet had been correct, if a different resident had been on, if she hadn't been so new, if other things hadn't gone wrong, then the patient still probably would have died, unfortunately, but the errors wouldn't have reached the patient.  It wasn't that she didn't make any mistakes - she did. We went over how to not make those again, and some of hers came from inexperience, but I also went over how the system should have caught her mistakes ideally, and how each step in the chain broke and how it should have gone. 

Now, I don't know what kind of counseling the resident involved received, but she had arguably more true negligence, and she definitely didn't quit, and I was frustrated because when I would try and bring up some of the negligence issues, it reverted back to "we don't want to throw around blame" etc.  I still see some of the same issues with her. 

There needs to be a middle ground between "no consequences" and "throw everyone under the bus". Or, as I have also seen in other hospitals "be real quiet about it and move the nurse to minimize liability". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×