Friday, February 27, 2015

Foolish Mistakes/Mishaps

In a diploma nursing program, it always seemed like you were on the threshold of being thrown out  or in the school's vernacular "unfit for professional nursing." Any type of minor mistake could get you tossed-missing clinical, too many demerits, or any grade lower than a "C." One mistake on the drug dosage calculating was all it took to get your walking papers. I was always worried about making an error of some sort.  Nevertheless I need to get these mistakes off my chest:

We were in a hurry to get going because there were a lot of "to follow cases." I quickly had everything ready to go, the patient was anesthetized and lo and behold one of my Asepto irrigation syringes was only about 2/3 full. Being in a hurry to fill it up, I overzealously squeezed the bulb hard enough to not only expel the air, but launch a stream of water up into the surgical lights. Irrigation fluid then dripped down onto the field contaminating everything.  We had to redrape and start all over. I felt terrible about it, but the only thing the surgeon said was that we were lucky the hot lights did not explode.

I don't  know what the current technolgy is for blood pumps, but ours were unwieldy (at least for me) hand cranked affairs. I was in a hurry (a recurring word with problems) and actually broke the crank off the machine. I felt like such a fool standing there with the crank in one hand and the blood and pump in the other. Other SNAFUS with pumped blood involved tubing connections that failed under pressure spraying blood where it did not belong. We knew nothing of any blood bourne illness.

I have also had experience with breaking glass IV fluid bottles, and if it was D5W you had the added element of stickiness to deal with. Typically this mishap ocurred if you were labeling the bottle or adding a time strip (no controllers) and the IV bottle rolled off an inclined surface during an inattentive moment. The metal hanger for the bottle could also slip out of your grip when you were reaching up too far to hang it. The aural stimulation of the breaking glass and the subsequent mess to clean up was very memorable.

This is the most foolish, dumb thing I have ever done as a nurse. My only defense is that I was called in at  3AM and was sleep deprived. The situation was a trauma case that died on the table. I had a huge mess to clean up and my first step was to get the body as expediciously possible to the morgue. I quickly filled out the toe tag and shroud label and hustled down to the morgue with the body. Later that morning one of the pathology residents called the nursing supervisor and asked her what went on in the OR last night and that they had the body of one of the nurses in the morgue. My reptillian brain had put my own name:. "OldfoolRN"  on the toe tag and shroud ID. Luckily, my usually cranky supervisor was mildly amused and understanding. The only thing she said to me was "go home and get some sleep" My coworkers never forgot this and were always kidding that I had risen from the dead.. 

No comments:

Post a Comment