Nursing mistake haunting me

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of CristyGerald CristyGerald 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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    Two years ago a mistake happened with one of my patients and to this day I am unsure if it was my fault. We had gotten new IV pumps and my patient was receiving chemo. It started beeping and the rate didn’t match the bag. I don’t think that I programmed it wrong but I am not sure. The patient ended up not feeling well and spent the night in obs – this was a new treatment for him. I am having a hard time dealing with the possibility that I caused this because I didn’t say anything about the rates not matching. In the moment I attributed it to being the new pump and not that I made an error but now I am not sure. I keep replaying it in my head and it is making me very depressed. Prior to this I loved my job and felt like a great nurse. I had been nominated for a daisy award after only being a nurse for a year and had been asked to be on different committees. I feel like this has tainted my entire career and I don’t feel like a good nurse anymore. How can I come back from this?

    Profile photo of Jennster

    You have not tainted your entire career because of this one small thing! And you will come back from this.
    First thing you must do, is stop giving yourself a hard time over this! Second thing is to immediately stop replaying everything in your mind: every time you catch yourself thinking about it, throw those thoughts away. DO NOT ANALYSE it anymore. It’s done. It’s in the past. MOVE ON, and be happy. I’ve no doubt you are a good nurse and you made one simple error. Be kinder to yourself: just keep on giving your best and don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself!

    Profile photo of CristyGerald

    When I was on the nursing floor, I was walking with my patient around for some physical exercise and all of a sudden they started to go down on me. I immediately called my supervisor which was a charge nurse at the time of the incident and the patient got up OK. I was so nervous the whole time I worked there after that day. The charge nurse did come down hard on me and some of my duties were taken away because of it. The patient was fine, but I did not feel good inside. I wrote it down inside of a journal and that seemed to help me feel better. I have learned to be extra careful and be very cautious.


    It’s really scary to think that you may have made a mistake…we’ve all been there. Sounds like you were ok at the time and didn’t begin to worry until you began to relive the incident. It then became larger than life. From your description, there was no serious outcome other than a night in obs where he received good care from the team. You can do a few things: 1. Identify what you learned from this 2. How will what you learned apply to the next patient in the same situation 3. Let it go and know that you did the best that you could do at that given moment considering all the other patients you had to care for on that shift 4. Consider talking to an employee assistance professional or a mental health therapist. You need to forgive yourself and move on. You are a great nurse or you wouldn’t have given this a 2nd thought. Way too much time spent worrying. You don’t want to give this past incident so much power over your life either personally or professionally. Take care of you so you can continue to care for others. Good luck

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