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My first mistake as an RN

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Let me start off by saying when someone suggested this topic for me to write about I sort of hesitated, but then I realized how important it is to be transparent. Contrary to belief EVERYONE makes mistakes. Whether we like to admit it or not, it’s simply unrealistic to think otherwise. Of course I’m not proud of the mistake I made, but with every mistake made there is a lesson to be learned. I’m fortunate that none of the mistakes have ever harmed my patients, and I’m always sure to not make the same mistake twice. So, let’s get into what happened.

It was a typical busy day in the Emergency Department. I only had an hour left of my shift, and I had to start a blood transfusion for one of my patients. At the time I had only given blood twice, once on orientation and another when I was off orientation. So, I was familiar with giving blood, but I just hadn’t given it a lot. Anyway, I had a second nurse in the room with me to verify the blood and to just oversee that I set up everything correctly. Once that was done I started the blood in the IV pump and did my vitals on the patient. By the time I did all of that it was time for me to go. So, once the oncoming nurse came I gave her report and told her I just started the blood and all the vital signs were up to date.

I had to work the next day, so when I came in I happened to see the same nurse I saw yesterday who I gave report to. When I saw her she told me the blood I started yesterday wasn’t actually going in. Apparently one of the clamps at the top of the tubing were still clamped. When I was told this I immediately thought oh my goodness did the patient get any blood? Thankfully, they did. She said once she realized which was about an hour into her shift she had to increase the speed on the pump, so the patient could get the blood within the four window of the blood being first started. In hind sight I think back to that day and I do remember thinking to myself the blood is going in kind of slow. After that day I learned to make sure that I pay attention closely to see that the blood is actually dripping and to always go with my intuition. Because, more times than not your intuition is usually right.

I wrote this blog not to boast on my mistake, but to be honest and let you all know that even the most experienced nurses make mistakes. For me the takeaway is that when you do make a mistake own it, learn from it, figure out what you can do prevent it in the future, and move on. You CAN NOT dwell on the past. You can only deal with the present and remember that you still are a GREAT nurse! If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment below or DM me @nursekimdarpoh on Instagram.

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