Accidental injection

I was a new graduate nurse (approximately 4 years ago) and thought it would be fun to demonstrate to my patient the proper way to use her expired epinephrine pen.

She was concerned because she was starting to have an allergic reaction, had an epi-pen, but didn’t know how to use it!

That’s where I, the naive, fresh-licensed-nurse of 3 months,  came in.

I thought it would be great to teach my patient how to use her epi-pen by demonstrating on a tissue box.

Easy: I inject the epi-pen into the box so she can see how it’s done.

A more seasoned nurse would have double checked to make sure that the injection part of the pen was going into the box, and not into her thumb.

No, not me.  I got the box, went for it, and injected my right thumb with enough epi to cure anapylaxis!  Brilliant!

I will never forget the look on my patient’s face.

As I tried to pry the pen that was lodged into my thumb, my patient’s face was getting paler.

What do new nurses do in times of distress after embarrassing themselves in front of their patients?

Flee the room.  STAT! And don’t turn back.

I ran to find the next nurse that would make eye contact, pulled him aside and told him what happened.

The charge nurse caught wind and sent me to employee health, never to return to that same patient.

4 hours, 1 x-ray, 2 motrin, and a pale, vaso-constricted thumb later, I returned to the ER and to my assignment (with maybe 1 hour left to spare of my shift.)

I’m not gonna lie, I was so relieved that the patient wasn’t there, she was long gone.

What kind of ding-dong scares their patients like that?

Questions for you: That’s my new grad story, do you have one? Anything embarrassing happen to you when you were a newbie on the job?

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