Make a Mistake as a Nurse? Three Tips for Getting Back on That Horse

nurseHow does that song go? Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days. Thank you, Miley. Sometimes, when you make a mistake, it’s easy to forget that you’re not perfect, that you’re human. Especially when you’re a nurse or health care assistant. When patient lives are in your hands, it can be easy to feel discouraged when you make a mistake. Every error affects their life, after all.

How to Deal With Mistakes as a Nurse

Mistakes are typically negative things. Every once in a great while, you’ll mess on something and it will produce a positive outcome. However, this is not the norm. As a nurse, making mistakes is something that’s going to happen, and probably more than once. They typically occur when you’re stressed, rushing through things or when you’re not comfortable yet with a certain task. If it’s your first few days as a health care assistant or nurse, mistakes are more than likely going to happen.

We’ve all been there. But, what do you do when they happen? All is not lost. Here are three tips for making the most of mistakes (yes, I just said that) and getting back up on that horse.

  • Pause a Moment and Check to See How Your Patient is Doing- This should always be your first priority. Before full-blown panic sets in, check to see how your mistake affected the patient. Were they hurt? Are they in danger of being hurt? If so, get your supervisor immediately and let them know what happened. Don’t wait. If no one was hurt and your mistake can be easily fixed, then pause for a moment and breathe. The world did not end. You’re still capable of fixing the problem.
  • Admit Your Own Faults- Once you’ve made sure your patient is safe, admit your own faults. Don’t be afraid or try to hide what you did. Be honest about it. Take advantage of the built-in support system you have in the group of nurses and CNA training graduates you work with. They’ve made mistakes too and can help you through it.
  • Make Some Choices- Keep in mind that mistakes are only mistakes the first time you do them. If you continue to do the same thing over and over again, it’s not a mistake. It’s a choice you make to do the wrong thing or at the very least, an unfortunate habit. Don’t be careless with your patients. Instead, learn from the errors you make and make better choices so they don’t happen again. Even if the mistake wasn’t in your control, there are still steps you can take. Speak to your supervisor and see what can be done to avoid the mistake again.

Everyone makes mistakes, but as a health care assistant or nurse, you’re held to a higher standard because your mistakes can cost patients their lives. If you do something wrong, make sure you take steps to prevent the same thing from happening in the future. Don’t become afraid or give up. Mistakes are lessons you can learn from to become a better CNA and nurse.

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