Unlike many other professions, people in the healthcare field can lose much more than their jobs, depending on the severity of their mistakes. When we make a mistake, regardless of how little or how big it is, we have a decision to make. Always chose accountability.
1. They’re scared. Fear can make people do crazy, irrational things. Think of teenager’s who hide their pregnancies and then deliver in the school restroom. They know it’s wrong, but they’re so afraid of their parents, of their peers, of whatever that they make bad decisions. When you make a mistake and suffocate on fear, it’s easy to see how nurses make the wrong decision. But remember: we must be accountable. We have to be gentle with ourselves, and we always have to try to make the right decision. Do not ever cover up a mistake.
2. They’re embarrassed. No one wants to make a mistake! It’s embarrassing. No one wakes up, puts on their scrubs, and think “I really hope I mess something up today.” We have to keep reminding ourselves that we’re human. It is embarrassing when we mess up, but if it’s an honest mistake, remember that there is probably something everyone can learn from.
3. They don’t think their hospital will support them. Nothing is worse that working for a hospital that you don’t think will support you if/when you make a mistake. If you do not think your hospital would back you up, think about looking for another place of employment.
4. Gossip. It’s easy for nurses to judge each other. We have all heard someone say (and most of us have even said the words) I would have….But hindsight is 20/20, and again, no one goes to work wanting to make a mistake. Seasoned nurses tend to sit back and not say anything. They know that mistakes can happen to any one of us.
5. Being peer-reviewed. Being peer-reviewed sounds like the worst.thing.ever. In no world would I ever want to stand before a group of my peers and have them judge my fate. Scary!
6. Two words: social media. Now, with social media, we worry about the whole world knowing everything. We now not only worry about being judged by our hospital, our peers, and by ourselves…we worry about the whole world having an opinion on our fate, with the potential to pressure our place of employment with action.
7. Losing their license. Nothing is scarier than thinking you could lose the ability to provide for your family. When healthcare providers make a mistake, we not only worry about getting fired, we worry about losing the license that allows us to work in the profession that we have dedicated our lives to. It’s a very scary thought.
Until my next delivery <3