Monday, December 5, 2011

Med Error?

Last week I had my clinical on Tuesday and I knew I had three meds to give at 0900, but then I never checked the system on what time the next scheduled meds should have been given at.  You see our clinical times start at 0630-1130, and we (the student’s) are responsible for giving all the meds during that time frame.  The patient in my care was supposed to get meds at 0900, 1000, and 1100.  I only gave meds at 0900.  We’ve only be passing meds for three weeks up to this point. The first week I had my instructor watch me, the next week I had the nurse I followed shove me the med and tell ME to administer it while she checked in on another patient. 
So when my instructor sat me down in her office later that afternoon and asked what happened I didn’t have any excuses to give but the truth.  I guess she didn’t like my answer and told me that I shouldn’t have the idea in my head that if I don’t do something the nurse will catch my mistakes.  She said that I AM to be thinking that I am the “nurse” so I SHOULD HAVE given the med, not expecting the nurse I was following to do it.  My instructor then went on to say “I’m sorry this has to go in your academic file especially being your last clinical and all.” I was thinking what kind of a dork tells me this on my last clinical day?!  I get that it was my responsibility and that I shouldn’t have expected my nurse to do any of my work, but come on.  I mean if I were malicious in my intent or purposefully neglectful I could understand.  Or I could understand, if by my doing, the patient was given an extra dose or the wrong med, but my nurse gave the meds that I didn’t and she never mentioned that it was a problem to me. 

I think my instructor was trying to find someone to fault in our class this semester and I was that person.  Either way she teaches by intimidation which doesn’t sit well with most of the students in my class.  She also threatened informed me other instructors next semester will see the red flag in my file and pay close attention to my short comings, making sure I don’t make this mistake again.  Nice…  If I had any bit of confidence up until this point, I surely don't now.  I’ve officially been knocked off my perch, so-to-speak.

Other than that I totally bombed my oxygenation/perfusion exam Friday with a 68% for my score.  I know what happened, I poured all of my time in a 17 page paper and not enough time into studying.  I have to average 73% on all my exams, and so far I’m in the clear, but I really want to rock the final coming up so I can feel rest assured with my overall grade in the class.

On a lighter note I filled out my internship paper work for this coming summer.  I applied to four hospitals in my area that I get a chance to work as a nurse tech.  I’ll be paid roughly half the salary of a new nurse for eight weeks, being able to put to use my nursing skills.  I’m super excited, thrilled, and scared all at the same time.  I hope I do well, and I hope I get extended an interview and offer. 


  1. It is a shame that this goes in your "academic file" and will pass on to future instructors. In my opinion this instructor has put undue emphasis on one error, especially if you've only been doing this 3 weeks. It also would have been nice if the nurse would have just reminded you of the meds as well. Unfortunately this is an example of how everything comes down on the nurse. You can't blame your patient load, the fact that you were doing actual patient care, you were at a required meeting, etc; it's always YOUR fault.

    In reality, though, depending on the facility and their persnickety-ness (is that a word?) about medication admin times, when you find out you've missed a med, you can just give it as soon as you find that you missed it. Sure, in some cases, this requires a call to the MD if it's a vital med of some kind, but is not usually a big deal. There are some nights that I'm still giving 9pm meds at 11pm.

    As you get more experience, time management will get easier and everything will fall together a little better. Try not to let one instructor get you down. Unfortunately it sounds like she's one of the type of nurses who like to "eat their young".

  2. Yeah that sucks but ya know technically that it was your bad... move onward and forward. Look at it this way, you'll never make that mistake again. Yes the goal is to think like a nurse, the bad part is instructor's eat their young like 'em too!

  3. I wouldn't worry about it. When you are learning, you make mistakes and that is why the INSTRUCTOR is there. It's a lesson you never forget though...and that's why you are a student.

  4. Oh girl I understand that's tough! It's an honest mistake and I see your perspective. To be fair, your in school and learning. I think she's just trying to get the point across that this is important, so hopefully you won't think they are picking on you. However, I also don't know her so it's not that I can say that's it. Hopefully the med wasn't a pain med of some kind, that would suck being the patient. Don't let that get you down, your excellent in all other areas. Show them you aren't that one mistake next term!

  5. Sometimes I think they thing it's their job to "knock us down a few pegs". I haven't encountered that yet, but I also haven't been to nursing school yet. I know a WONDERFUL, loving, caring, NP who while in nursing school was told by one of her professors that she should drop out. She told her that she would NEVER be a good nurse and she needed to just drop out now. Soooo, while I hope that you don't run into this again and I pray that I don't either, I think from what I've heard it's to be expected, we are going to run into to some bubble busters, but we can't let them get us down. We have to just keep walking forward on the path laid before us by the one who knows our true hearts.

  6. Barb - I just found out today that even though it goes in my academic folder, not many instructors care to read the extra addendums (not enough time) so even though it had to happen maybe I'll still be okay.

    Christine - I realize it was my mistake, but the instructor's approach and timing sucked and was slightly uncalled for. I will not eat my young for sure when I become a nurse.

    CC - I did bring up the point of being a student and still being in the process of learning to my instructor. She would have none of it stating I needed to think more nurse-like. Anyway the standard of a good nurse is set high and I should be held to that high standard regardless, just stinks at times.

    Dominique - you are so right...I am the student... darn it. The patient was not in trouble, because the nurse I was following gave the meds I missed but the teaching point was still given to me that I should have given those meds.

    Candi - This semester has been such a "knock me down a few pegs" sort of semester that I don't ever want to re-live it again. One thing I've realized is that when I think I've gained an ounce of confidence, I'm quickly dished a piece of humble pie. That's okay because in the end I'll be a much better nurse for it. They keep telling us that we're always learning and the minute we think we know it all is when patients get hurt.

  7. You know, I've only been a nurse for little over a year. I remember what nursing clinicals were like. It's hard to know what you're ALLOWED to do and what you are NOT allowed to do. Also, some of those nurses take full advantage of having a student for the day, and others are afraid to give up the reigns. Don't sweat it. I don't believe for a second that the clinical instructors actually look at your academic file before starting :)

    I am a new follower.