When you become a nurse, you run the risk of making mistakes. It just comes with the territory.
While it is true, that some of those mistakes could possibly threaten a patient’s life, some of them can be funny, too. Mistakes are serious, make no mistake about that
However, after the fact, some mistakes are really quite laughable. As a nurse, I pulled a few boners of my own, mostly when I was a new nurse.
Of course, I am unable to speak for other nurses, but I can speak to some of the stupid things I did that didn’t endanger the life of the patients I was treating.
The accidental art line
I was never very good at starting IVs. As a new nurse, I was even worse, and my preceptor decided that I needed to try my hand.
My patient’s line blew, and I was tasked with getting a new line. I searched and searched, and then I found a nice fat vein over the wrist. Score!
Well, I cannulated that thing like a champ. Funny, though, that the blood kept pulsing into the tubing. I thought that this was quite odd, so I called my preceptor in.
I asked if I cannulated the artery, and she said no, no, no that wasn’t possible, and yet it kept pulsing. Flippantly, she told me to call the IV team if I was worried.
The IV team asked me if the IV was in the wrist. I said yes. She asked if it was pulsing. I said yes. She said, “Congratulations, you just started your first arterial line!”
Needless to say, I spent the next half hour holding pressure, and the IV team had to come up to get the line that I failed to get – this time in a vein.
My first rapid response
Again, I was a new nurse, and I was taking care of a relatively stable patient. Yeah, that didn’t last long.
She went south, my stomach went south, and lots of people ran to my patient’s room. I stood anxiously outside the door, watching as they worked to assess my patient.
I had no idea what to do. I would have stood on my head if I would have thought it would help.
Suddenly, someone called out, “We need 4x4s!” Hey, I know where they are!
I rushed down the hall, leaving my post, and looked frantically in the supply closet for the 4x4s. It was hard to find them because I was shaking.
By them time I found them and got back, the rapid response was over, the prized 4x4s not even needed. My charge nurse asked me where I went, and I sheepishly proffered the carton.
She smiled, but said, “You can’t leave the bedside, Lynda. Let others get those things. The 4x4s are not important compared to your knowledge of your patient.”
I was chagrined, but I look back on that and laugh. A patient was in crisis, and my only contribution to the effort to help her was to bring emergency 4x4s.